John Coleman hopes his players can take the hurt from Saturday’s loss and turn it into a winning performance in the quarter-finals of the Leasing.com Trophy at Salford City tomorrow night.
The Reds boss admitted the 2-1 loss to struggling Southend, who chalked up their first league win under manager Sol Campbell, was still playing on his mind on Monday morning.
But he is happy they have a game in quick succession with the trip to the League Two side and with a Wembley appearance on the horizon if the Reds can win the next two games.
“I have reflected on the Southend game and I have to take some of the blame,” said the Reds boss.
“I changed the shape that was doing well in the first half, we didn’t start the second half particularly well and I have changed the shape after 55 minutes and gone to three at the back and we lost our width, we lost the dynamics we were playing with, so I have to take the blame for that.
“I am annoyed with myself and my own decisions.
“In the main we don’t get that many wrong but when you do you have got to hold your hand up. I am learning as well.
"Saying that, we did more than enough in the first half to win the game and if we can continue to play like that, we will more games than we don’t.”
Salford, managed by former Burnley midfielder Graham Alexander, are currently in mid-table and they beat promotion-chasing Forest Green on Saturday despite ending the match with nine men.
“Salford is a massive game but every game we play is going to be massive between now and the end of the season. We have got to find a way to start winning games again like we did in December.
“This competition has always been big for me, it’s a chance to get to Wembley.
“We have tried our hardest in it every year, sometimes we haven’t had the best of luck, sometimes we haven’t had the best of performances, but I know the lads are hurting that they didn’t win on Saturday and this is a chance to get that out their system.
“Salford are a decent side, they have got good players, they have spent a lot of money in the transfer market and signed established players.
“They had a great win on Saturday, despite going down to nine men, so it’s going to be a tough game but we would like to think we can give them a tough game.”
Coleman said before the last round, when the Reds played Fleetwood, that he felt the winner of that tie would get to Wembley – with Stanley victorious on penalties.
“I stand by that,” he added. “I guess it could spur Salford on but we are in there to win the game, to try and win the semi-final and get to Wembley and win the cup as I am sure Salford are.
“On the day it’s who comes out on top. It might take a little bit of luck, it might take a little bit of skill, let’s hope it’s the latter.”
Once again, if the scores are level after 90 minutes, the game will go straight to penalties.
In the other fixtures, played on Tuesday night, it’s Exeter v Stevenage; Newport County v Leicester City U21s and Portsmouth v Scunthorpe.