Accrington Stanley boss John Coleman is hoping to build on the feel-good factor from Boxing Day as the Reds travel to Shrewsbury tomorrow night.
Stanley beat league leaders Rotherham 1-0 at the Wham Stadium and have now won four of their last five league games to move up to tenth place – looking upwards at the Play-Off spots.
Steve Cotterill’s Shrewsbury, in 18th spot, are in a decent run of form after climbing out of the relegation places and winning three of their last five league games – and have an Emirates FA Cup tie against Liverpool to look forward to.
Coleman admitted the win over the Millers was a big boost but knows they need to build on it against the Shrews.
“You want to keep going if you have done well and they will feel the same. Shrewsbury had a great win on Boxing Day, 3-0 away at Fleetwood, but bring them on and we have got believe in ourselves,” said the Reds boss.
“We asked our players to do that on Boxing Day and they did. You have got to fight for every inch in this league and I am sure tomorrow will be no exception.
“Steve Cotterill will have his side fired up, you always expect it from them, they have good players and we have as well.
“I have watched them a few times, I know their strengths, we have to be at our best and we are always hammering home to our players you have to be at your best all the time.
“I think every team in the league when the season starts, you don’t know where you will finish as there are that many good teams in the league and big clubs.
“You are always jockeying for position and you just have to try and get the wins on the board and try and eliminate the silly mistakes.
“Every manager in League One will think this season ‘what were we doing there?’ as defenders have made a mistakes or strikers have missed an easy chance.
“Players don’t go out to make mistakes on purpose and the better teams capitalise on the other team’s mistakes and that’s the mode we have got to get into.
“The players worked extremely hard on Boxing Day, they keep setting little benchmarks for themselves that they have to aspire to achieve and that was certainly one on Sunday.
“We have got to keep defending like that, we did give up a couple of chances early on and the difference is earlier in the season, or midway through the season, we would get punished for them. If you can just stay in the game until half-time, we know we have quality and we are a fit team, we know we will make chances.”
The Reds have gone through the usual set of Covid tests and are hopeful on the injury front as well.
“We are hoping the tests come back in our favour.
“Joe Pritchard tweaked his hamstring but it’s nothing serious, hopefully he will be back sooner rather than later.
“David Morgan isn’t far away then there are the other lads who were out with Covid for Boxing Day and should be back next week.
“All these lads have a point to prove, they know they are good players, they have probably underachieved a little bit this season and I know it sounds daft, with where we are in the league and what our budget is, but we feel we are better than that and we will keep striving to be better.”
Meanwhile the transfer window opens on Saturday and Coleman is aware there are several clubs looking at striker Colby Bishop, after the Reds turned down an offer from Peterborough in the last window.
“We don’t want to lose players but the nature of the game is players do well for us and you reach a point where it’s in the club’s interest to sell them and I will try to bring other players in.
“I can’t stop other people wanting our players as that’s the progression in football and now we are starting to get the correct fees for them. If someone makes a bid for Colby that’s acceptable to the club then we will accept it and he will go with our best wishes. We want Colby to be successful but that’s got to be the right move.”
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!