JOE Pritchard is a young man determined to make up for lost time.

The Stanley new boy once captained the likes of Harry Winks and Nabil Bentaleb in the Tottenham youth team and rubbed shoulders with Harry Kane and Andros Townsend in the Under-23s set-up at White Hart Lane.

A horrific broken leg suffered at the age of 18 threatened to derail a promising career but after battling back to play again for Spurs and then earn a professional deal with Bolton Wanderers last season, the midfielder developed a different outlook on the game.

Thankfully for the Reds, that hunger to prove himself led him to the Wham Stadium.

Pritchard could have waited out the summer for new owners at Bolton, recovering wages that remain unpaid since March. Instead, he sought the advice of former Stanley loanee Connor Hall to check out the merits of an offer of a two-year deal from John Coleman.

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“At my age you don’t often get the luxury of picking and choosing the kind of team you want to be involved with so when Accrington put an offer on the table, it interested me,” he said.

“I know the way they play, I spoke to the manager who told me about the philosophy of the club and what they are planning in the future and it sounded good.

“Connor was a big factor. He gave me a good insight into what the manager is like, what the lads are like, how the fans are.

“When the manager sits you down and tells you this and that you know it is because he wants to sign you. That’s fine – but Connor was able to be an in-between, he allowed me to have a more informed opinion.

“I’m not going to worry about whether I am playing Championship, League One, League Two – I want football. This suited me and I am very happy to be here.”

Up to the fateful afternoon in November 2014, when Pritchard was stretchered off the pitch in a Spurs Under-18s game against Norwich City, the indications were that he could be the next big talent off the conveyor belt in North London.

“Before it happened I was captain of the Under-18s and it was the week before the FA Youth Cup final,” he explained.

“We’d just won an international tournament with Real Madrid and Benfica involved.

“Being honest, I felt I was doing really well at that time.

“I’d started getting game time for the Under-23s, working my way up, so it came at quite an unfortunate time for me.

“Getting a serious injury isn’t good for any 18-year-old but to miss 12 months of my career at that stage was really difficult.

“Even when I got back I felt like I’d reached a really good standard. I’d scored goals in the Checkatrade Trophy against senior teams and I was the captain of the development squad. The injury could have ended my career. I was lucky to be playing football again and I was determined to make sure that I continued playing.

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“I am proud to say I was at Tottenham for 14 years. I was brought up playing passing football and I hope that can continue at Accrington.”

Pritchard was released at Tottenham just before the summer of 2018, which enabled him to sign a short-term contract to play with Bolton’s Under-23s, who won the Professional Development League play-offs that season.

He has kept an eye out on his old teammates’ success – be it international, continental or domestic but believes the decision to move on and pursue his career in the North West was one which will benefit his career.

“I’m good friends with everyone I played with at Spurs and they deserve every bit of success they get,” he said.

“It’s a proud moment for me when you see mates making movements through international football or the Premier League or the Champions League.

“Tottenham have done really well this year and I’ll always want to see them challenging at the top.

“They had an amazing training ground, top stadium, great coaches – to work with Mauricio Pochettino was a great experience. But at the end of the day I wasn’t playing, I wasn’t doing what I had worked hard to do.

“Although it was nice being there and working with the players I did, I think getting out was probably the best thing for me.

“I had that small glimpse of senior football in the Championship with Bolton and now in League One I’m aiming to get more involved in the first team picture.”

Bolton’s financial problems have been well-documented but Pritchard, who made five appearances in total for the club, says the promise of regular football was the main reason he made an early decision on where he would be playing his football this season.

“It definitely wasn’t a case of leaving because things were going wrong or the club was in trouble. It was the fact I got an offer of security,” he said.

“Last season was my first taste of first team football and that’s a debt I’ll always owe to Bolton Wanderers.

“I remember coming home after my debut, I’d got my match worn shirt with my name and number on the back. That really meant something.

“The look on the face of my mum and dad, how proud they were, I wasn’t going to sit around waiting for opportunities. I am hungry and I want to get out there and have more success, push myself as far as I can possibly go.

“That can only happen when I’m out there on the pitch.”