Mark Hughes knows Stanley face one of the toughest test of the seasons so far in League One leaders Ipswich Town live on Sky on Sunday – but he also knows a win could kick start their season.
The Reds have won two league games so far this season and, as a senior player, defender Hughes has to keep spirits up in the camp.
Ipswich, who Stanley knocked out of the FA Cup last season when they were in the Championship, come to the Wham Stadium with eight league wins and three draws in their 11 league games so far.
Former Reds striker Kayden Jackson, who helped Stanley to the League Two title in 2017/18, has scored six goals so far and will come up against Hughes, if they both play, for the 12 noon kick off.
“Kayden wanted to move on to play at a higher level and it probably took him a few months to settle down but you can see this season he has hit the ground running,” said Hughes, 32.
“He is playing well, he is a quick lad, he will get chances in this league through his sheer pace and he is playing with good players.
“They will be a different team this year, they were a team used to getting beat last year whereas this year they haven’t lost a game.
“It’s like any player, with confidence, you feel quicker, you feel stronger and they will be coming here full of confidence. It’s tough winning league games and they haven’t lost a league game all season so they are a good team and they are consistent, they have good players and we will have to be on our toes.
“But we do tend to do quite well against the so-called bigger teams and hopefully it will be a good atmosphere and we will get the crowd going, get them behind us which is what we will need.
“Having the cameras here adds a bit extra to the occasion. You don’t have many chances to be on TV in the lower leagues so it’s important to show everyone how we can play.”
Hughes admitted he was disappointed after Stanley lost at Rochdale on Saturday but the players will now be fully focused on Sunday.
“We were all gutted after Saturday. Looking at the game, we didn’t deserve to lose, we deserved something out of it but it summed up our season really.
“If you give daft goals away and don’t put your chances away you are not going to win games, it’s been the story of the 12 games we have played so far.
“It’s frustrating and, I know it’s a boring football cliché, but you just have to keep going, keep working hard and strive to get better each day so when the chances do come on a Saturday, or there is the chance to stop goals on a Saturday, then we have got to do better all-round.
“It’s not easy at the moment, like anything if you are not doing your job properly you are not going to come in full of joy.
“It’s a tough league, football is a tough game and you have ups and downs in your career. We seemed to be turning a corner and then taking another three steps backward.
“It’s still only early but you can’t keep doing the same things every week which is giving daft goals away and not being clinical enough but we have got to keep at it, keep our standards as high as we can to climb up that league.
“We do know on our day we are as good as anyone but we haven’t had the consistency this year. We need to be ruthless in both boxes and hopefully that starts on Sunday.”