Accrington Stanley boss couldn't block Mahoney's Blackburn Rovers move
11:00am Friday 13th December 2013 in Sport
ACCRINGTON Stanley boss James Beattie believes Connor Mahoney could have a big future at Blackburn Rovers, after admitting he could not stand in the way of the 16-year-old’s dream move.
Mahoney has already made six first-team appearances for Stanley and Beattie says the highly-rated winger would have played more regularly, had the Reds not been battling their way out of the League Two relegation zone.
But the talented teenager is now set to join Rovers after a deal was agreed, and the Stanley manager had no intention of blocking a move to the club that Mahoney supported.
Beattie, too, grew up as a Rovers fan and played for the club as a youngster, but he once suffered the frustration of seeing a move blocked when he wanted to join Fulham from Stoke.
“As manager I don’t think I’d stand in any young player’s way because being a player I’ve had that done to myself and I knew how I felt,” Beattie said.
“Connor’s a Blackburn lad and he supports Blackburn.
“He can go as far as he wants to go. He’s a sensible lad, he’s got a huge potential.
“I spoke to Gary Bowyer (Rovers boss) and Eric Kinder (Rovers’ under 21 boss) and said to them that he will go in as probably their best under 21 player, even though he’s 16.
“Some people might laugh at that, but some of their under 21 players probably couldn’t come and play league football, whereas Connor’s played league football at 16 and he’s dealt with it and shown what a good player he is.
“Even though he’s only had bit parts to play, if we’d been on a better run and been in mid-table, Connor would have been playing for us, I’d have had no doubts whatsoever to put him in.
“Some of our boys stood off him in training because they didn’t want to be made a fool of.
“They didn’t want to be mugged off by young lad who can shift a ball and go past them without even flinching.
“For a lad that’s 16, that’s quite impressive.”
The deal includes a number of add-ons if Mahoney progresses at Rovers, and Beattie says Stanley may try to bring the teenager back on loan in the near future.
“I might be looking to get him back in January,” he admitted.
“They’re going to do the fitness tests and the various assessments and then see where he’s at in January.
“I said I might very well come knocking on the door for Connor, even if it’s not this January then maybe in the future.
“I want to create and enhance the relationship we’ve already got with Blackburn, which is very good.
“I think we could be a tremendous feeder club for Blackburn and vice versa.
“Blackburn is such a big club that if we needed any help, I’m sure they’d help us out.”
Both clubs are expected to confirm the Mahoney deal this morning with the teenager moving for an undisclosed fee.
Stanley return to action at home to Exeter tomorrow after a blank weekend, with James Gray favourite to replace Kayode Odejayi up front after the expiry of the Rotherham man’s maximum three-month loan.
Odejayi, out of favour at Rotherham, is continuing to train with Stanley ahead of a likely permanent move in January.
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