SEAMUS Conneely is confident Accrington Stanley will be playing football in League One next season after they pulled 16 points clear of the drop zone.

Saturday’s thrilling 4-3 win over Lincoln City took the Reds up to 14th in table and made it three wins on the bounce for the first time this campaign.

The captain scored to make it 3-3, his first goal since a draw against Scunthorpe United in September 2018.

“Sixteen points is a tough one to make up. I’d never come up here and say we’re absolutely safe, but we’re in a good position,” said Conneely.

“The work we’ve put in in the last month, three wins on the bounce, has put us in a strong position.

“It just gives lads a little bit more freedom to play – you can express yourselves more when you have that little cushion.

“That’ll bring out the best in our players because we have players who can really hurt teams and if the shackles are off a little bit then it helps.

“There’s a fine line between playing with complacency and freedom and we just have to get that right from now until the end of the season.

“It’s nice to be here with a win, it’s been a long time I’ve gone without a goal, so I’m delighted to get it.”

Despite falling behind twice in the second half, the skipper insists he was always confident his side could come back and take the three points after recent displays.

“We were coming off the back of two wins, so the confidence was there,” Conneely added.

“Maybe if this game was a month ago then we might have found it difficult to find a way back. Joe Pritchard’s come on off the bench and scored an absolute wonder goal.

“Sometimes you need a goal out of nothing and that was out of nothing. He’s struck it from about 25-yards into the top corner and it gave us a huge boost.

“When we fell 3-2 behind, we scored really quickly after. That was a big factor to keep us going.

“At the end, it was end-to-end, both teams felt like they could win it.

“I’m just delighted the ball fell to Sam Finley on the edge of the box and he’s faked to put it into the far corner and reversed his foot at the last minute to wrong foot the goalkeeper and it just trickled into the bottom corner, it was fantastic.”

Both sides had to battle the elements in East Lancashire as Storm Dennis came down hard on the Wham Stadium.

“It was very difficult; I think the wind got a bit stronger in the second half when it was on our backs,” added the skipper.

“It was difficult for the whole game to get the ball down. The wind was swirling at times and then the rain started getting very heavy in the second, it was hard to play. The effort both teams put in was admirable.

“At times, both teams played some good football and seven goals shows chances were being created by both sides.

“We’re just delighted we’ve come out on the right side of it.

“We’re focussing on beating Rotherham next week, that’s our next target and that then takes care of moving up the table.

“Top half is certainly a realistic option for the end of the season.”