John Coleman admits he still has nightmares about last season's League Two encounter at Cambridge – but knows tomorrow's match will be a different proposition.
Stanley were losing 2-1 at the Abbey Stadium when they won a penalty in the last minute. Billy Kee was the regular spot-kick taker but instead Chris Eagles took it and it was saved. From the resulting corner, the Reds won another penalty and this time Terry Gornell saw his effort saved.
“That result derailed us last year,” said Coleman. “We were going well but that stopped us. It was also the start of Billy's mini-demise as he battled his depression.
“But what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and we have all come out of the other side.”
Coleman knows plenty about Cambridge – including former Reds favourite Piero Mingoia who scored against Stanley in that loss last season for Shaun Derry's side.
“Piero is a smashing lad and a fantastic player. My big regret is, when I came back to Accrington, I left him out of the team for a couple of months.
“Once he got into the side, he was never going to get out of it due to his work-rate, his endeavour, his ability and his crossing.
“He gave us an idea to play the system we now do – with more width, with two hard-working wingers helping out defensively - he is one of the forerunners of what we are doing today.”
Coleman admits he has decisions to make with several players impressing during the 4-0 Checkatrade Trophy win at Wigan Athletic on Tuesday as his second place side face 10th placed Cambridge who are eight points behind the Reds.
“They have given me food for thought,” said the Reds boss. “When all our players hit decent to top form we know we have a chance of winning any game, it's when three or four have an off-day that we could lose the game so we have to guard against this.
"I expect Cambridge to be at the top end of the table this season, they are a typical League Two side like us, who can beat anyone on their day and also lose to anyone on any given day. It will be a test for us."
Coleman confirmed that his players came through both cup matches unscathed, despite Scott Brown taking a heavy knock, he expects to have a fully-fit squad to choose from.