WINDASS OF CHANGE
Accrington’s Josh wants to make his own name, not live off dad Dean’s
IT TOOK Josh Windass a while to find his feet in League Two, but now that the goals have started flowing the 21-year-old’s next target is to emerge from the shadow of dad Dean. Following his Accrington debut in November 2013 – a 1-0 defeat to Tranmere in front of a modest 1,700-crowd
at the Crown Ground – Windass has gradually proved himself and become a mainstay of the Stanley midfield.
A change in manager with John Coleman taking the reins from James Beattie last September saw Windass go through his own transition from deep-lying midfielder to a more advanced role, kicking on to add goals to his game after failing to find the net in his first 36 appearances as a senior player.
A purple patch of three goals in four games that began at the end of last month has helped push Accrington away from the relegation zone.
But the chance to draw comparisons with dad Dean’s successful career, which included firing home-town club Hull City into the Premier League in the play-offs, is something Windass junior is reluctant to entertain.
“Any time anyone talks about me, they mention I’m Dean’s son,” says the former Huddersfield trainee. “It is a bit annoying, because what I’m doing is not really anything to do with him.
“We have a good relationship and we talk about football, but we don’t talk about me specifically.
“I don’t ask him for advice. If I did he would help me, but I’m my own man.”
Windass’s determination to finally be recognised in his own right is perhaps borne out of a period of uncertainty where injuries left him wondering whether he would make the grade.
By his own admission, as a teenager he never considered an occupation other than becoming a professional footballer.
“I would have struggled with anything else,” he points out.
Yet a fresh injury suffered while playing for Harrogate Railway Athletic, so soon after his burgeoning career at Huddersfield came to an end following a severe leg break, had him sweating on his future.
“I broke my fibula, tibia and ankle and had a year out,” said Windass. “I had a few trials after that, but I was never fit to play.
“Then I went to Harrogate and broke my wrist and I thought ‘I’m going to have to get a job’, because I couldn’t find a club.
“Then Paul Stephenson at Huddersfield took me along to Accrington and James Beattie offered me a contract.
“It was a relief and Beatts was great to me. Now John Coleman is, too.
“Every day he will tell me about positions to get into and I feel like I’m getting better and better.
“I hope I can keep scoring. I’m really enjoying my new role in the team. I feel like I’m in good form, and when you have players around you also in form and a manager that believes in you, then you have no excuses.”
Windass helped his club secure a valuable point at promotion-chasing Wycombe on Tuesday night.
It left Stanley 17th in the table with 45 points to their name. That gave them an eight-point cushion over the drop zone ahead of the weekend, while they were a hefty 12 points off the play-off spots.
“We want 50 points as soon as possible and then we will see what we can do,” he added. “There’s no danger of us taking our eye off the ball.”
Derby’s run of poor form continued on Friday night at Wolves – Page 23
RISING HIGH: Josh Windass in action for Stanley against Leeds, while, inset, dad Dean celebrates scoring the winner for Hull in the Championship play-off final against Bristol City in 2008