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INTERVIEW: Coley on Saturday's trip to Rochdale

Reds boss wants his side to be back to their attacking best against bottom club

15 April 2021

John Coleman wants his Accrington Stanley team to show their attacking prowess when they make the trip to relegation-threatened Rochdale on Saturday (ko 12.30pm).

Brian Barry-Murphy’s side are at the foot on the table but won on Saturday and are in a tight battle to escape the drop into League Two.

The Reds, in 11th place, have scored three goals in their last five games – with two 0-0s in the last four – and the Stanley boss wants his side to get back to showing their threat in front of goal.

“We have got to attack better than we did on Tuesday at Blackpool,” he said. “With the players I have at my disposal, we should be able to attack better and that’s what we will be trying to do.”

Coleman admitted he had mixed emotions after the Blackpool goalless draw in which Colby Bishop had an 88th minute penalty saved by Chris Maxwell.

“The lads put a right shift in and I was pleased they got a clean sheet but when you miss a penalty in the last minute, it’s always disappointing.

“We maybe could and should have won but, on the balance of play, probably a draw was a fair result. We would have taken that before the game, we would have certainly taken a clean sheet and a nil-nil but you never set out to get a nil-nil.

“I never set out to get a draw but we had to tighten up and our thinking was we could counter on them and use our pace up front.

“We didn’t get as many attacking opportunities as what I would have liked but, if you look at how hard the lads work, I have got to be pleased and the lads have got to be pleased.”

Coleman wants a repeat of the defensive qualities on show at Bloomfield Road.

“There was bruised pride after the 5-1 loss to AFC Wimbledon, none so more than the staff as we feel it as much as the players.

“The players wanted to reaffirm that they are a good set of lads and good players and the best teams in the world get heavily defeated.

“The results on Saturday, no one would have called Crewe losing 6-0 to Oxford but you get strange results, particularly this season, results are getting even stranger.”

Rochdale have eight wins this season – the lowest in the division – but have drawn 12 of their 40 matches.

“There are a lot of teams who have struggled this season and they can’t put their finger on it.

“I think Rochdale have had a bizarre season, with a number of 3-3 draws.

“They always look like they are capable of scoring but always look like they are capable of conceding which will probably lead to a 0-0 now on Saturday!

“There are plenty of teams who are capable of hurting you. You look at the teams at the bottom and we have lost to Bristol Rovers, Wimbledon, Wigan and drew with Northampton, you can’t write anyone off as every team has good aspects in their make-up.

“The ones who are doing better are the ones who consistently get it right and that’s blighted us this season. If you look at how we defended against Wimbledon and then against Blackpool, it’s night and day. Have they chosen to go out and defend badly? No. A few things go against you and before you know it, you are a rabbit in the headlights and the game has passed you by.

“Any team in League One at any time is capable of putting in good performances and they wouldn’t be playing in League One if they weren’t good players.

“Some aren’t as consistent as others and we have fallen foul of that plenty of times this season.

“What Rochdale do have is a great lad in Brian Barry-Murphy in charge. He is a great fella and a good footballing person and I would like to see them do well for him, putting Saturday’s game aside.”

Meanwhile, the Reds are seven points outside the top six with six games to play and Coleman still believes Stanley should be focusing on promotion.

“If we win the next six games, you are going into the Play-Offs so what not try and achieve that? Until you can’t, you can so why not focus on the can rather than the can’t?”

Young goalkeeper Liam Isherwood is out for the season through injury which means Academy goalie Jack Buckley is likely to be on the bench again.

Joe Pritchard is a doubt after a tweak in his leg following his comeback against Wimbledon.

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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