JAMES Beattie hopes a deal can be struck for Brett Ormerod to make his return to Accrington Stanley this season.

Ormerod has linked up with Stanley for pre-season training this week and is a free agent after leaving Conference side Wrexham.

The 37-year-old played for Accrington at the start of his career before moving into the Football League with Blackpool in 1997.

“Brett’s training with us and he’s expressed an interest in coming to join us,” said Stanley boss Beattie.

“I said to come and train, I would let him train anyway because he’s my friend and he’s great for some of the younger lads to look at him and take on some of his habits and professionalism.

“He mentioned to me that it’s his 22nd pre-season, which shows his experience at these things.

“He’s a great lad so I think he would be training even if there wasn’t anything there for him, but hopefully we can come up with something which is mutually beneficial for both parties.”

Stanley are in the rare position of having 17 contracted players at the start of pre-season and Beattie hopes that will provide a good basis for a strong campaign, after recovering from relegation trouble to finish 15th in League Two during 2013/14.

“We just want to try to improve on what we did last year,” said the Reds boss, who also has former loan goalkeeper Cameron Belford training with the club.

“That has always got to be the aim in whatever you do, to try to improve.

“Things are looking good, we’ve got 17 contracted players which is a really good position to be in.

“It’s not really the case at every club, everyone is cutting back.

“I know our budget has been cut again but if you look locally at Blackpool, they have eight contracted players in the first team.

“They’re in a hell of a position with four or five weeks to go to the start of the season, they’ll have to really pull their finger out on the recruitment front.

“We’ll be hoping to bring in a couple more bodies and then like last year maybe utilise the loan market to our benefit and for lads to come for their development.

“There are a few lads who are training with us at the moment for us to have a look at, and in the next few weeks we’ll have a look at them and see if they’re what we’re looking for.

“I’m happy with what the chairman and the board are talking about with things that are potentially going to happen at the club.

“I just need their support now with getting another couple of players in, to sanction these loan moves and hopefully we can put out a decent squad and have a good season.”

Centre back Tom Aldred has been linked with interest from League One after an impressive campaign last time around, but Beattie does not expect to lose any of his current squad.

He said: “There have been whispers of players leaving but I’ve had no personal enquiries, which leads me to believe that was all speculation.”