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INTERVIEW: Coley glad to be back at the Wham

Reds boss full of praise for Saturday's opponents Wycombe but knows Stanley need the win

24 February 2022

Accrington Stanley boss John Coleman knows how important the Reds home form has been this season as they look to get to the magical 50 points which should guarantee League One football next season.

The Reds take on promotion-chasing Wycombe Wanderers at the Wham Stadium on Saturday, with Coleman’s side unbeaten in seven at home.

However on their travels Stanley, who have 43 points, have struggled with just three away wins all season and they have lost their last two games – at Cambridge and at Doncaster.

Coleman has been frustrated with the way his 14th placed side have played and hopes getting back to the Wham Stadium will help them overcome Gareth Ainsworth’s side and gain another three points towards their target.

“We have let ourselves down and let the supporters down,” said Coleman.  “We haven’t applied ourselves as well as we could have done to situations which were very much in our control to win games.

“That’s both at Cambridge and Doncaster, no disrespect to those team but on those given days the team we put out were better than their team and the stats will tell you that.

“But the definition of being better than someone is beating them and so on both occasions they beat us so they were better. We have to put it down as missed opportunities.

“We still feel we can be drawn into a relegation battle and we don’t want to get involved in that and we have to try and get our heads down and win as many games as we can.”

He admitted that the defeat to relegation-threatened Doncaster, who had lost their last seven home games before Tuesday, was hard to take.

“For the first time this season, maybe Burton as well, we went in 0-0 at half time after pretty much dominating the first half and I was livid with my team.

“I don’t think we showed enough spirit, we were off the pace and we ambled through the game and we haven’t been used to that. We have been used to teams playing full throttle for the 90 minutes of most games and so its noticeable when it drops off. It was like a bad dream as you could see what was going to happen.

“You do get down being a football manager but it doesn’t stay with you, it’s not in my personality anyway. It’s a great job to be in.

“We have got to stay positive by working hard at what you do and getting the way you play nailed.

“We have to get our energy levels up, play with an enthusiasm that befits being a professional footballer and representing Accrington Stanley and we will do our best to get our players playing like that on Saturday.

“We need to get back to playing the way we can play which is high energy, passing the ball when we can, going long when we can, being physical when we have to, being skilful when we have to and getting more of our shots on target and be more clinical scoring goals - and keeping them out at the other end. We have done that plenty of times this season.”

Stanley lost 2-1 to Wycombe on the opening day of the season, the first game after their relegation from the Championship, and they were top of the table in mid-January but have not won in six games.

“It was a bizarre game at Wycombe, we didn’t start the game right and never felt comfortable in the game. We gave a ridiculous goal away and then were chasing the game,” continued the Reds boss.

“We know what we are going to get from Wycombe. I am full of admiration for the way Gareth has gone about his business. Getting Wycombe promoted was an unbelievable achievement and he could feel really hard done by them going down last season, I don’t think that was justified.

“He continues to do a good job there and he wins games on a regular basis. I like him as a guy, he is a great fella, be great to see him and cross swords with him and have a can of John Smith’s Bitter waiting in the office for him after the game.

“Gareth has had a great career in football and in management and it will only get better in my opinion. He is very down-to-earth and level-headed and he is one of the proper football people and he deserves all the plaudits he gets.

“We have played well at home this season, the pitch has helped us and our fans never stop singing for the whole game and the players respond. But there is no given that you play at home you win.”

Defender Ross Sykes returns after a two-game ban while the Reds will assess midfielder Matt Butcher who was named in the team on Tuesday but was dropped to the bench due to injury.

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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