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Play-off memories spur on boss

18 October 2014

John Coleman admits today's trip to Stevenage will bring back bad memories but is determined to put Stanley's last visit firmly in the past.

In 2011 the Reds were beaten 2-0 by Boro in the first leg of the League Two play-off semi-final and went on to lose the tie 3-0.

It's something that has been in the manager's thoughts ahead of kick off at the Lamex Stadium.

“Going through the gates I'll still shudder… “ he said. “We did great to get there and if I had my time over again I wouldn't have been as gung ho going there. I'd try to do to them what they did to us here, kill the game and try to limit the damage and try to nick a win.

“We were in such a great vein of form at the time and blowing everyone away and we felt invincible. I wasn't going to deny the players. In hindsight it probably cost us but maybe this is a chance to right a little wrong.

“The players probably felt they didn't do themselves justice. What you have to remember is that nine of that team had probably already left in their minds. They'd agreed terms with other teams. When that's the case it's very hard to focus.

“I had the chance to leave myself about six or seven weeks before and I knew we were going to get into the play-offs so there was no way I was going to jump ship. It can be a distraction and I know it must have been a distraction for the players but I know that they went out to win those games and I know that nobody was hurting more than them when we lost.

“When it all boils down to one game you have to be right and in my time at Accrington we've always acquitted ourselves well in those circumstances. Let's hope we have more of those games.”

Like Coleman, the Stevenage manager of that time Graham Westley is now back at the club following a spell with Preston North End that saw him hit the headlines.

“I can understand a lot of his thought processes,” explained Coleman. “I know he's very single minded and has been successful and people can talk about his methods and focus too much on them and not really his mentality or his work ethic.

“In my opinion people don't give him enough credit for the success that he has had.”

Today's opponents have been hit by a number of injuries of late and were forced to name 55-year-old goalkeeping coach Dave Beasant on the bench for last week's defeat to Carlisle.

But the Stanley boss is still expecting a very tough opposition to take to the field.

“After my time in Sligo I can't really have sympathy with teams suffering with injuries because I've never seen anything like it. I've been on the other end of it and you have to get on with, which I'm sure Graham will do.

“I'm sure they'll be able to field a strong starting eleven and a bench to cause us enough problems as it is. What we have to do is focus on what we want to do to them and come up with a game plan.”


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