STANLEY have made former Liverpool striker Joe Hardy their ninth new arrival so far this summer.

The Wirral-born frontman has signed a two-year contract having been let go by the Anfield outfit.

Also formerly of Manchester City and Brentford, John Coleman believes the 22-year-old can make a real impact at the Wham Stadium as he looks to make his mark at first-team level.

Coleman said: "Joe is a goalscorer, he gets himself in the right places at the right time and this is a good chance for him to kick-start his career.

"He had a good move from Brentford to Liverpool and it didn't really materialise for him, but we've got to hope that we can give him the service and he can take them."

Hardy began his career at Tranmere at the age of eight before moving onto City five years later.

He progressed through the ranks at the Etihad Stadium and was a regular goalscorer for the club's Under-18s, Hardy then departing for Brentford's B team in March 2017.

During his two-and-a-half-year spell in West London, he grabbed 40 goals in 80 appearances and was voted the 2018/19 Brentford B Players’ Player of the Year.

That attracted the attention of Liverpool’s scouts and he moved to Anfield in January 2020 for an undisclosed fee, before making his professional debut a month later in a 1-0 FA Cup fourth round replay win over Shrewsbury Town.

Hardy now has a fresh start at Stanley though and has enjoyed his first couple of weeks with the club having featured in friendlies.

"I'm really happy to get the deal done and getting this over the line will allow me to kick on with pre-season,” he said.

"I was so excited when I heard about the interest from Accrington and it's been really easy to settle in, all the lads are great and I already knew a few of the lads beforehand.

"I like to score goals and find spaces in the box to get my shot off, so I can't wait for the season to start."

Hardy follows another former Liverpool man in Liam Coyle in joining the club ahead of the new League One campaign.

Harry Pell, John O’Sullivan, James Trafford, Joel Mumbongo, Archie Procter, Matty Carson and Dylan Moonan are other new arrivals.

Hardy joins in a position that is the subject of much speculation this summer after the performances last season of Coleman’s preferred front two Dion Charles and Colby Bishop.

Stanley have said all along that no player will leave the club on the cheap with Championship Stoke the latest club to be linked with Charles who scored 20 goals last season and made his international debut for Northern Ireland.

One report has quoted a £2million price tag for the Preston-born frontman.

“Myself and Andy (Holt, owner) are on the same page and, if we think the best business sense is to sell a player for the good of the club, that’s what we will do and it doesn’t matter who the player is,” Coleman said in May.

“They are educated decisions, made with the interest of the club whereas in the past we had to sell to survive and that’s not the case anymore.

“That means you get the market value, the starting price for our top players now is well over a million.”

He added: “We’ve been told by the chairman that we don’t need to sell so everything is in place for us to go forward.

“So instead of looking over our shoulders we could be reaching for the stars.”