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INTERVIEW: Coley looks ahead to tomorrow's game with Shrewsbury

Reds boss: "Hard part now is staying in top six"

19 February 2021

John Coleman says now Accrington Stanley are in the top six the tough job is to stay there as they take on Shrewsbury Town tomorrow at the Wham Stadium.

The Reds overcame promotion-rivals Doncaster Rovers on Wednesday to move into a Play-Off spot.

The 17th placed Shrews, since Steve Cotterill took over, have been in a good run of league form with seven wins and just two defeats in their last 12 encounters.

Cotterill has been in hospital with Covid but was allowed to return home this week.

“I wish Steve well, I get on quite well with him and he has done a terrific job since he took over at Shrewsbury,” said the Reds boss.

“He certainly galvanised them when we played them at their place, think it was his first league game in charge, and it was a cracking game which ended up a 2-2 draw.

“He has done well but his health comes first.

“Steve has been hit hard. Myself I only had a cough for a day and a loss of taste and smell but it affects everyone differently and that’s what you have got to be mindful of this illness.”

He continued: “I think it will be good psychologically for us getting into the Play-Off places but getting in the top six for me is the easy part, staying in it is the hard part.

“You can only do that by picking up points, how you do that is immaterial.

“Obviously you want to do it by playing free-flowing football and scoring loads of goals but that’s not always the case and you come up against good sides.

“There isn’t a bad side in League One, there are teams who are in and out of form and at this moment of time, Shrewsbury are one of the teams who are in form so we know it will be a difficult game. We feel our play says we are in-form although our results don’t say that.”

Coleman’s side had picked up two points from their previous nine but he admits his team are on a high after they secured the win over Rovers.

“It was a smashing victory for hard work on Wednesday. There will be some tired legs, Shrewsbury didn’t play and you think it might be a bit of an advantage but when you are playing well, we haven’t been winning but we got that win, it tends to give you a lift, a spring in your step, a shot of adrenaline.

“We have set ourselves standards now. If we can reach them who knows where it can take us. It’s going to be hard work to do that but we have a cracking set of lads, a good squad and we have got players coming back to push everyone all the way. We are looking forward to every game we play no matter who we play.”

Coleman says the addition of QPR loan man Paul Smyth, who scored the winner over Doncaster, has been a big plus.

“Paul is a good player, that’s why we did our utmost to get him back, he has a cracking personality as well.

“He gives you a different dimension. On Wednesday, Paul’s defensive play was just as important as the goal to see the game out and all the lads have bought into how hard they have got to work, they have to defend from the front.

“You can see that with the way we play, we mix it up, we don’t go long all the time, we don’t go short all the time and we don’t over play. That’s the sign of a good team when you get it right.”

Sean McConville sits out the last of his four-game ban while Shrewsbury is too soon for Joe Pritchard as he looks to overcome an injury.

“I spoke to Joe at length about getting his fitness back on track, hoping he can join in next week and be back in contention which will be a massive boost for us.”

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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