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'Pool is pivotal: Coley

19 April 2016

John Coleman knows tonight's clash at in-form Hartlepool is pivotal to Stanley's season.

Despite being unbeaten in eight games, the draw against Morecambe saw the Reds slip from third to fourth place – out of the automatic spots on goal difference.

They travel to in-form Hartlepool tonight looking to get back to winning ways but Craig Hignett's side have suffered just two defeats in their last 11 games.

“I would be amazed if the five competing for final two automatic places all win every game between now and the end of the season,” said Coleman with four games left.

“There will be slip-ups and twists and turns all the way.

“Hartlepool is a big, big game and I know we have said Morecambe was the biggest game we have been involved in but this is now the most important.

“Everyone who is in the automatic promotion bracket is away tonight. Everyone will expect each other to slip up and we have got to make sure it's not us who do.

“If we lose, it will make it very difficult for us to get automatic promotion although it will not put us out of it.

“This game could be the pivotal moment of our season. If we get a result tonight and on Saturday at home, we have a great chance of getting back into the automatic promotion spots again.”

Stanley have won their last three away games and Coleman feels the game at Victoria Park will be an entertaining one.

“We have been consistently good away from home this season especially against teams who come onto us and I expect Hartlepool to do that.

“Hartlepool are better than their league position suggests and they are on a good run and it will be an open attacking game.

“Ronnie (Moore) did an unbelievable job last season keeping them up and then was perhaps a victim of his own success, with the higher expectations.

“Then Craig Hignett has taken over and they have had some remarkable results and done well with the way they play.”

Coleman knows other teams will be out to beat his side and dent Stanley's promotion bid.

“We have got to become accustomed to being a scalp – it is something the players should be proud of.

“People will have expected us to fall away but they will have realised we are not. With four games to go let's hope we don't fall away.”

Scott Brown is a doubt with a hamstring injury while Terry Gornell is recovering from illness. Matt Crooks is batting to return after an ankle injury while Joe Wright is back in training.


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