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Boxing Day seaside trip is one to relish: Bell

Assistant manager looks ahead to Boxing Day clash with Blackpool

23 December 2019

Stanley assistant boss Jimmy Bell is relishing the Boxing Day derby with promotion-chasing Blackpool with a bumper crowd expected at Bloomfield Road.

Simon Grayson’s side have only lost once in eight league games – a 1-0 defeat to Shrewsbury last Saturday – and currently sit seventh in the League One table.

The 17th placed Reds are on a good run of form, five games unbeaten, and will go to the seaside full of confidence.

“These are great games, for me Blackpool are a massive club, they are well supported and have a fantastic stadium,” said Bell.

“They are up there with Doncaster, Ipswich, Sunderland and Portsmouth, which are all great games in this league with ‘little’ Accrington punching blow by blow with them and sometimes getting the better of them. It’s great for the club and great for me.

“I know Simon well as he lives near me and, when he was out of work, I used to see him out and about and talk to him about football. He has the winning mentality and has won numerous Play-Off finals over the years – he is a winner.”

Stanley were interested in Blackpool striker Armand Gnanduillet, who has found the back of the net 13 games this season, over the summer.

“Armand Gnanduillet has always been a fantastic talent and I think he has developed over the last 18 months and found his way. He is a goalscorer and a big threat which we will have to nullify.

“We have three games in six days over the festive period and it has been very kind to us travel-wise, with Blackpool and then two home games against Burton and Rochdale.

“We have a big enough squad to cope with it and we have players in form.”

Colby Bishop has 12 goals this season, Dion Charles has six goals and Offrande Zanzala came off the bench to score his sixth goal this season in the 1-1 draw at Doncaster Rovers.

“Colby came off on Saturday with a bit of a back injury but we are hoping he will be okay,” said Bell. “Sean McConville came off the bench after his shoulder injury and that puts the pressure on team selection which is what we want.

“Ozzy always looks hungry when he comes on and it’s great to have that when you are looking at the bench.

“Blackpool will be a smashing game. They will be smarting from their defeat on Saturday, it’s a local derby over the festive period and we have talked about being on an unbeaten run and we want to stay on it. Confidence is high, we have managed to score late goals and we are going in the right direction.”

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