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INTERVIEW: Coley on facing Burton Albion

More injury woes with Mark Hughes out for the rest of the season

1 April 2021

John Coleman has been dealt a huge blow with the absence of defender Mark Hughes but he knows his injury-hit side need to bounce back against Burton Albion tomorrow.

The Reds lost 7-0 at Peterborough on Saturday and also lost Hughes, who had played every minute of every league game this season until the Posh match, to a tear in his hamstring.

Stanley have dropped to 13th place, five points from the Play-Offs, while 18th placed Burton are 12 points behind the Reds.

However, under Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, the Brewers have had a remarkable turnaround in fortunes after being rooted to the bottom of the table in the first half of the campaign.

After the New Year’s Day appointment, Burton have won eight of their last 12 games to move five points clear of the relegation places although they have lost their last two matches.

Their top scorer is Kane Hemmings with 13 goals and Albion won the first league clash between the two sides thanks to an 87th minute goal from John Brayford in August.

“Burton have had a couple of defeats now by the odd goal and they will be looking to get back on track,” said the Reds boss.

“The league is littered with teams who have gone on little runs, or in Burton’s case big runs, and you have got to get your head down and try and win a game by any means and then try and take it into the next game but it is easier said than done.”

He admitted they had briefly looked back at the loss to Posh but were looking forward now.

“To be honest, it was fine after the game. Things like this happen. As I said on Saturday, sometimes the sun shines sometimes it rains and unfortunately it rained for us and we didn’t bring our coat.

“It was a blow for us on Saturday but if you look at the run of stats, we had five players who ran over 10k and three who ran over 11k so it’s not for the want of trying.

“We have looked at it again briefly with the lads, we didn’t want to dwell on it too much and we have to defend better and we have shown throughout the season that we are capable of defending well.

“There were certain things which conspired against us such as Mark getting injured after a few minutes.

“He should have come off then but tried to soldier on and he paid the price for it.

“Mark has torn a muscle in his hamstring and is out for the season which is a blow, he has been terrific for years and has been a permanent fixture and we will miss him badly.

“Mark has put his body on the line time and time again, he has rarely missed many games and very rarely goes down injured so for him to come off had to be something serious.

“I am pleased with the effort our lads have shown all season, you can’t fault that, they have ran through brick walls for us. We are thin on the ground but the lads called into play have done the same, so I have got no complaints on the score of effort.”

With the Reds falling away from the Play-Off picture, Coleman knows his side now need to get on a winning trail if they are to make a late charge for the top six.

Stanley have had wins over Swindon and Wigan recently but haven’t been able to build on them.

“You can never say we are out of Play-Off contention or else it’s pointless turning up for the game tomorrow but we need to get on a run and do it quickly if we are to get back in contention for the Play-Offs.

“Gillingham went onto the top six last night, I know they have played a lot of games, but there is no reason why you can’t if you put back-to-back wins together but it’s easier said than done.

“It’s been a problem not being able to get on a run, things happen in football, best intentions and best laid plans, they don’t always work out the way you want but it doesn’t mean you don’t keep trying, keep plotting and planning, to try and come up with a system, formula or style of play that’s going to be successful.

“A couple of clubs have been on strong runs, Shrewsbury did when Steve Cotterill went in there initially; Gillingham have been on a terrific run as well but the league is such that every team is capable of beating everyone else and therefore every team is capable of going on two or three or even more winning game streaks and we need one of them if we are going to get into the Play-Offs.”

And Coleman knows it’s important to tighten up defensively, with the Reds on -2 goal difference.

“It’s frustrating as some of the goals we have conceded are silly but that’s the nature of football, I think most goals are conceded by mistakes and we have got to try and eliminate the mistakes we are making.

“All we can do is focus on the Burton game and try and get ourselves as organised and strong as we can.

“There have been a lot of changes since we last played them and we will go out and give it our best shot.”

Coleman was hoping Sean McConville is fit while there will be late fitness tests on Ben Barclay and Seamus Conneely. The weekend may be too soon for Joe Pritchard and Colby Bishop while Rhys Fenlon is out for the season.

Dion Charles will be back available though after returning from international duty with Northern Ireland.

The full pre-match interview video with John Coleman is available to watch on the club's official YouTube channel, CLICK HERE to find out more!


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