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INTERVIEW: Coley on the trip to Doncaster

Reds boss ready for promotion-rivals as both look to return to winning ways

16 February 2021

John Coleman hopes his players can get the result he feels their performances have deserved as they travel to promotion-chasing Doncaster Rovers tomorrow night (7pm).

Darren Moore’s side are joint fourth in the table, six points ahead of the ninth placed Reds, having played the same amount of games but they have lost their last two matches.

Stanley have picked up two points out of the last possible nine – losing to Plymouth and drawing against Northampton and at league leaders Lincoln on Sunday evening.

“I watched Doncaster’s game with Sunderland on Saturday and the result didn’t tell the story of the game,” said the Reds boss.

“They got beat 4-1 but they missed two penalties and they had 18 shots to Sunderland’s six.

“I have watched Doncaster a few times, they are a good team, they have good footballers and losing midfielder Ben Whiteman (to Preston North End) was a big miss for them.

“Darren is a calm head, he knows the game, he is a great fella, a good footballing man, he has done a good job and produced a good team who is more than challenging for the top or the Play-Offs.

“He will be frustrated he has lost the last two but the beauty of football is that you always have the chance to right things and he will be thinking the same of us.

“We are expecting them to come out of the traps and we have to be ready for that and we have to match what they do and at times better what they do.

“We went to Lincoln to win the game, you can say we were bullish with that, but we backed it up with our play.

“We more than competed against Lincoln which is the benchmark as the top team in the league at the moment. If we can do it against them we can do it against anybody but Doncaster will pose a completely different threat to Lincoln.”

The Reds last won on February 2nd with the 6-1 victory over Bristol Rovers and Coleman feels they haven’t got what the deserved out of the last three games.

“The mood that our players are in they want to be playing every day, you just wish they could get the results to reaffirm that to themselves really.

“It’s nice to see people rewarded for their effort and good play and we just haven’t had those rewards at the moment, hopefully they are not too far off coming to fruition.

“Football takes twists and turns, you get into ruts and you get onto great runs but you do need luck.

“I look back to that unbelievable winning run (in 2018), similar to what Oxford are on at the moment, and you just believe and know you are going to win.

“You do get luck along the way - a penalty, a disallowed goal against you, just little things.

“At this moment they are not happening for us, they are happening against us, penalties, sendings off, and non-sendings off and non-penalties.

“I think it shows great character of the lads who are playing through that, they are not getting the reward for what their efforts are producing and still having the enthusiasm and the passion to keep going and keep believing what is right and the players should be credited for that.

“If you are playing poorly and nicking wins you are not going to carry on, it can’t go on forever, and likewise if you are playing well and not winning eventually your luck will turn or normal order will generally turn.

“We have got to keep believing that the way we are playing is going to be enough.

“I speak to various people in and around football and they have been impressed with the way we have played this season, not always, but we are getting more consistent in the way we play now, in our identity, it’s a handful for teams and we have to keep our heads down and try and get wins as wins are the vital currency in what we are trying to achieve which is ultimately promotion.

“We know our concentration levels have to improve, as there are times you dominate games and go to sleep, just one or two individual errors.

“We need to fine tune the marking and how we are going to defend and give people clearer roles and responsibilities and make sure they are adhered to. Everyone has to take ownership of that, so everyone makes sure it’s adhered to so you have 11 policemen out there.”

Coleman has praise for Dion Charles who is joint fourth in the League One’s scoring charts with 14 goals this season, with a double at Lincoln in the 2-2 draw.

“Dion is a lovely lad, he is getting better, he is taking on board what we have been trying to coach over the last two years.

“You can see the improvement , the understanding with Colby Bishop is very good at the moment, they are getting into the right areas, they play off each other.

“It helps having Paul Smyth behind them, it gives Dion a license to get into areas he possibly couldn’t get into as they are fearful of his pace and Paul’s pace.

“It’s ok guarding against one player who has blistering pace but when you have two, it’s hard. If Dion deals with his career and this club in the correct manner, he will have a fantastic career.”

Sean McConville sits out the third of his four game ban while Joe Pritchard has a hamstring injury and is expected back in training at the end of the week.

Smyth, Tariq Uwakwe and Adam Phillips have slight knocks which will be monitored.

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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