John Coleman admits it will be ‘lovely’ if Accrington Stanley sit at the peak of the League One table after Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash at Sunderland – but he won’t read too much into it.
The Reds travel to the Stadium of Light to take on the Black Cats, who are level on points with Stanley but ahead on goal difference having played a game less.
Lee Johnson’s side have won four of their five league encounters so far this season but Coleman’s men haven’t lost at Sunderland – drawing 2-2 and 3-3 in the two games they have played there.
“It is a top-of-the-table clash because they are first and we are second but it’s miles too early to be looking at it like that,” said the Reds boss.
“I don’t think there is a bad side in the whole 24 in this division, this is how strong the league is going to be this year.
“I don’t think any side has hit top form either so we are complaining about us not hitting top form but there are loads of clubs in the same boat.
“The ones who get it going quickly and can be consistent for a longer period, they are the ones who are going to be successful.
“One the day, it’s 11 v 11. They might have a nicer stadium, the pitch might be a little bit better, their infrastructure might be better, they might eat better meals than us after training and their players might drive nicer cars but that doesn’t guarantee you more points on a Saturday, it doesn’t guarantee you winning your own individual battles.
“We will send our players out there with a clear goal of what we want to achieve, a clear way they can do it and let the battle commence.
“We are playing 11 players not a club or a stand or fans, it’s not an insurmountable mission. We have been to the Stadium of Light twice and not lost and on both occasions we have come away a bit deflated we hadn’t won so we will be going there to win.
“It would be lovely for the fans and players to be top of the league but it’s big ifs.”
Seamus Conneely played in the Under 23s game midweek and now has some minutes under his belt while Man City defender Yeboah Amankwah got a run out.
“That was quite fruitful for us” continued Coleman. “We are trying to get ourselves playing back to the way I know we can play.
“This season, I know it’s a good points return but I don’t think we have hit the heights that we did anywhere near last season.
“We are doing enough to win games but that won’t always be the case, it won’t always be enough to win games, certainly at this level. We have got to improve our play and the lads know that.”
This weekend is still too early for Joe Pritchard (thigh) and John O’Sullivan (ankle).
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!