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Coley: Good healthy rivalry with Burton

Coleman looks back to non-league days when he and Nigel Clough were player-managers

27 December 2019

John Coleman remembers the days when Burton Albion and Stanley were battling in non-league football with the two clashing in League One on Sunday.

Coleman and Nigel Clough were both player-managers of their respective sides in 1999, when both teams were semi-professional, before Clough led the Brewers into the Conference in 2002.

Stanley followed the year after but the Reds hit the EFL first in 2006 before Burton won promotion in 2009, going all the way to the Championship in 2016.

Both managers have had spells away from their clubs but lock horns again on Sunday with Albion in 12th place, four points ahead of 16th placed Stanley.

Both go into the game in decent form, the Reds on a six-game unbeaten run, the latest their last gasp win at Blackpool on Boxing Day, and Burton on the back of two wins, beating Tranmere and Rochdale in their last two matches.

“Our rivalry with Burton goes back a long way – to the Northern Premier Division when both me and Nigel Clough were player-managers,” said Coleman.

“It was a good healthy rivalry then and the fact we both played in those fixtures in the early days gave them added spice.

“I always talk about ‘rising like a salmon over Darren Stride’ to score the winner in the Peter Swales Trophy!

“We are both passionate about our football and I have got a lot of time for Nigel. He is a good, honest man and a good football manager and his teams always play a good style of football.”

The six-game unbeaten run has boosted the Reds but Coleman admitted: “It’s our last game of 2019 and our end of term report from this year is: Could have done better.

“We have played some good football this year, I feel we haven’t got the results our performances have deserved but I am sure we can get better in 2020.

“The big thing for me is positive goal difference. We were struggling at one point this season on minus 10 but now we are level and we want to build on that. A positive goal difference usually means you are in the top half of the table.”

Colby Bishop (back) and Seamus Conneely (groin) both sat out the win at Bloomfield Road and both will have late fitness tests for Burton’s trip to the Wham Stadium.

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