SAM Finley says he is ready to prove himself in the Football League after stepping up from the National League to sign a two-year deal with Accrington Stanley.

Manager John Coleman swooped to make the former AFC Fylde captain his third summer signing in time for the start of pre-season training yesterday.

The combative midfielder, whose Coasters contract had expired, turned down more lucrative offers from National League clubs to join the Reds and get his shot at League football.

And after meeting his new team-mates and being put through his paces on day one, Finley said he was focused on making his mark in League One.

“I had a few offers but I wanted to play in the Football League. Most of the offers were in the same league, in the Conference, but I wanted to go and better myself and prove myself in the Football League,” he said.

“When my agent phoned me and said he had spoken to the gaffer and came across with the deal it was a no brainer.

“People might say it’s a big step up but I’m going to back myself. Accrington did brilliantly last year winning League Two.

“The gaffer said to us it’s a lot to do with team spirit and I believe that. It seems like a close-knit group and a bit of a family. The team spirit is unbelievable and I think that played a massive part for Accrington last season and hopefully it will do again this season.

“I’m just over the moon to get the deal over the line.”

Finley was on Everton’s books until the age of 16, moving on from a short spell with Southport to spend four years with TNS in the Welsh Premier League, winning four consecutive titles and playing in Champions League qualifiers against the likes of Legia Warsaw and Anderlecht.

The 25-year-old was bought by AFC Fylde three years ago, helping them win the Conference North before captaining the side last season, when they missed out on promotion to League Two following defeat in the play-offs.

Now Finley has made the additional leap into League One and said: “I can’t wait to get started.

“It’s a massive league to be in and everyone knows the stage that Accrington are going to be playing on and some of the grounds we’re going to be going to.

“We’ve just got to go and relish it and enjoy it.”

Of his third summer recruit, following the captures of Will Wood from Southampton and the returning Piero Mingoia, Coleman said: “Sam is a good player, and had two particularly good games against Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup last season.“He is a competitive midfielder who fits the mould here.

“He is hungry. He could have got more money playing in non-league but he wanted a crack at the league and he is backing himself to do that, I like that.He is the type of player we want. We can’t give him riches but we can give him the platform to go on and better himself.”