JIMMY Dunne is hoping to combine the next step in his fledgling career with helping Accrington Stanley make the step up to League One.

The 20-year-old defender met up with the Reds squad for the first time yesterday after completing a loan move from Premier League neighbours Burnley until the end of the season.

Stanley again slipped out of the play-off picture following the half-time abandonment of their New Year’s Day clash with rivals Morecambe, which they were leading 1-0.

At the time of referee Graham Salisbury bringing an end to proceedings the Reds were in sixth place in the ‘as it stands’ table. At full-time they were 10th.

But with severe congestion in the top half of League Two and only three points separating them from Coventry in third, with a game in hand on the Sky Blues, boss John Coleman is keeping his eyes on the promotion prize.

And after a successful spell at Conference strugglers Barrow, Dunne is aiming to make a difference.

“It’s a step up from where I was,” said the young Irishman.

“I learned loads at Barrow and it was what I needed at the time for my development.

“It’s the biggest step I’ve taken, the physicality and the pace of the game is completely different, the way that professionals manage the game is completely different.

“I think that’s what I needed to try to learn the physical side of the game, especially being a centre back, having loads and loads of defending to do. It was really important to me.

“I’m lucky enough to get this opportunity to step up a league and the position in the table compared to where Accrington are and where Barrow were, it’s a different kind of fight.

“Accrington are trying to get up so it’s a different situation and I’m going to learn a different side of the game hopefully now and prove myself again.

“I’ll have to adjust as quick as I can because there’s no time. I’ll have to get out there, get my head down, work as hard as I can and hopefully try to help the team as much as I can as well.”

While it will be Dunne’s first taste of League football, he is familiar with the club and the town.

“I’ve lived in Accrington for a year and a half and I’ve come to one or two games. I saw them in pre-season,” he said.

“I haven’t seen them this season but I know the position they are in the table so they’re obviously doing very well. I just need to make an impact to try to help the lads out.”