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Finish on a high: Coley

2 May 2019

John Coleman is going to Portsmouth for victory in the final game of the Sky Bet League One season as he wants his side to finish as high as they can.

Stanley currently occupy 13th spot in League One and a win would secure that place whereas a defeat could see them drop to 17th, depending on other results.

Third placed Portsmouth missed out on the chance of automatic promotion this week but have secured a place in the Play-Offs.

“It's disappointing they aren't still in with a chance of automatic promotion as that would have made for a really good atmosphere but it will still be a good game," said Coleman, with a 5.30pm kick off for all League One games.

“It's a relief to go into this game knowing we are safe and not worrying about other results around us but we want to put on a show and win the game.

“It will be a nice pitch, a nice stadium and it's a chance for our players to play with freedom and, when we do, we can be a dangerous proposition as we showed against Plymouth last week.

“We will be taking this as any other game, we are not playing with our flip flops on.”

Pompey are safe in the Play-Offs, it's just whether they finish third, fourth or fifth in the table.

“We don't know what team Portsmouth will play, I just remember the first time Accrington were in the Play-Offs in 2011," continued the Reds boss.

“We went on an unbelievable run, we were on the crest of a wave and I made nine changes for the final game of the season at Burton. I didn't want players getting injured.

“We did draw at Burton but, although we didn't lose the game, I felt we lost the momentum we had built up and it affected us in the Play-Offs against Stevenage.

“If I had my time again, I wouldn't make the changes and would risk the injuries but I can't govern what Portsmouth do.”

Coleman has begun preparations for next season, with Ipswich, Bolton and Rotherham relegated from the Championship, and Lincoln and Bury so far coming up from League Two.

He is talking to the players this week and has already been on scouting missions for new recruits.

“We realise we have to work within our means and I am a realist.

“The only time we have been the ‘big hitters' is when we were in the UniBond First Division, ever since we have had to battle but it's a challenge I relish.”

Coleman is hoping to tempt new recruits with the new facilities at the Wham Stadium.

“I said it last year but there probably isn't a better time to join Accrington. The pitch is going to be perfect, we will be at the new training ground from pre-season, something we have craved for a long time.

“It's the highest level the club has been at and we have managed to retain our league status which is a bonus and it's my job to try and assemble a squad for next season to improve on what we have done this season.”

Goalkeeper Dimi Evtimov is available for tomorrow's trip to Pompey after sitting out a two-match ban.


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