ACCRINGTON Stanley have been without star striker Billy Kee all season, but summer signings Colby Bishop and Dion Charles have taken on the goalscoring mantle admirably.

The two strikers were both signed as permanent additions in the summer transfer window and, due to circumstances, were thrown into League One action despite playing in footballs sixth-tier the previous campaign.

Bishop has hit double figures in League One as he has 10 goals so far this campaign, while Charles struck his ninth goal of the season in Saturday’s win over AFC Wimbledon.

Life in League One is a constant challenge for the Reds with the rise in transfer prices at the top of the game filtering down the divisions.

Stanley have had to adapt to this and shop on a limited budget, but luckily, manager John Coleman and his assistant Jimmy Bell are no strangers when it comes to finding a gem or two.

Coleman and Bell not only spot a talent from non-league football, but they are then able to develop them to perform at a standard they were previously alien to.

Bishop had caught the eye while playing in the National League North for Leamington where he scored an impressive 37 times in 58 games. This prompted Coleman to get the striker signed up on a three-year contract – something that doesn’t happen regularly at Accrington.

Charles, like Bishop, was playing in the National League North when he caught the eye wearing the yellow of Southport – notching 18 goals in 54 league starts. Charles was also signed to a permanent contract.

The two link up well together when they are partnered up front. Bishop, the taller of the two, is able to get hold of the ball and link play well from the front while Charles uses his pace to harass defenders and stretch play.

Bishop has that poachers instinct where he comes alive when the ball is making its way to the opposition area as he tries to position himself in goalscoring opportunities at the back post or the front post whereas Charles is often the one involved in the build-up.

What often got overlooked with having Kee up front was the dirty work he got through. Kee was able to fight against centre halves bigger than him and win free kicks or make sure they weren’t able to clear the ball far up the pitch.

This is where Charles and Kee are very similar. What strikes you with the 24-year-old is his willingness to close down defences and he is certainly not one to shy away from a challenge.

In his 240 games for the Reds, Kee scored 83 times, but also racked up 46 assists. Charles has three to his name so far this season and it will be a shock if he doesn’t add more before the campaign comes to close.

Preston-born Charles has been without his partner Bishop in recent weeks as the latter has a small tear in his hamstring.

However, Preston-born Charles has flourished under the added responsibly of leading the line as he has grabbed three goals in four goals at a time when Stanley were looking over their shoulder towards the relegation zone – with the latest coming in Saturday’s vital win over AFC Wimbledon.

Kee’s time at Stanley may be over, but the forward line has been left in good hands with Bishop and Charles chomping at the bit to make an impact at the club.