Sean McConville is entering his seventh consecutive season at Accrington Stanley and wants to help everyone at the club achieve their dreams – promotion to the Championship.
It’s the 32-year-old’s second spell at Stanley – he was with the Reds from 2008-11 when John Coleman’s side lost in the Play-Off semi-finals in 2011.
Since his return in 2015, he has been involved in the Play-Offs again, helped Stanley to be crowned League Two champions in 2018 and played his part as the Reds have maintained their place in League One, challenging towards the top end.
Now the winger is hoping he can use his experience to create another memorable campaign in Stanley’s history.
McConville missed ten months out in 2020/21 with a ruptured Achilles but he feels he is back stronger than ever and ready for the Sky Bet League One opening clash at Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday.
“I am not a big fan of pre-season,” smiled McConville. “We come in, work hard and get ready and, once pre-season is over, that’s when it starts.
“It’s a big game Saturday, a big 46 games, the squad is looking strong and well and we finished last season really well in 11th place.
“We were disappointed not to get into the Play-Offs with the squad and players that we had. Maybe the squad depth told last season but this season I don’t think it will be the case. We have strengthened and we haven’t lost anyone.”
The Reds have a good record at Wycombe, having lost just once in their last 12 visits.
McConville continued: “We usually do well at Wycombe, we travelled in numbers five years ago when we just missed out on automatic promotion in 2016. The fans were unbelievable that day.
“I remember the 4-0 when we won the league, it’s a team we seem to do well against so fingers-crossed we can carry that mantra onto Saturday.
“We are under no illusions that it is going to be a tough game, they have come down from the Championship, they have good strong players and we know how they like to play, Gareth Ainsworth is a top manager and he sets his teams out really well.
“He knows the way we like to play so it makes for a good game, it’s the first game of a long season. There are no leagues won or lost on Saturday but hopefully we will come away with a positive result, a point or three.”
The Reds come up against former left back Joe Jacobson, who played for Stanley in that 2011 Play-Off campaign, who is enterting his eighth season with the Chairboys.
“Joe is a good lad, he was instrumental in that 2011 season. You look at the career he has had, the amount of appearances, the goals he scored the season Wycombe were promoted to the Championship. He is a good player at his level, he is a danger at set pieces and penalties, and he is a good lad as well. We always look forward to catching up with him afterwards."
McConville admits that, while he is one of the characters in Stanley dressing room, summer signing Harry Pell has overtaken him as the joker at the club.
“Harry is a lively character, he is the type of character which Accrington seem to attract. He is always up to something from first thing in the morning. He likes to play practical jokes and is always trying to get a nibble out of everyone.
“We have a great set of lads here, there are no bad eggs. It’s a really good group, everyone pulls together. We might lose games this season but it won’t be for lack of effort with the group of lads we have here.”
Vice-captain McConville says he has now put his Achilles injury behind him but, every season, knows it’s a battle to secure a first team spot.
“I finished last season really strongly. In the last two or three months of last season, I felt I was in a good bit of form and I want to carry that on.
“I am accustomed to playing games in this league, I am an experienced campaigner and hopefully, whether I am in the team or out of the team, I want to help this team achieve what they want.”
He can’t wait to have the fans back in stadiums after Covid-19.
“With the fans back it feels real again. A few of the lads will have the hairs on the back of their necks standing up because it will be a lively encounter.
“Wycombe at home are generally strong, we travel well so it makes for a good game. It’s a game we want to win.”
The full pre-match interview video with Sean McConville is available to watch on the club's official YouTube channel, CLICK HERE to find out more!