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INTERVIEW: Coley only looking forward as promotion-chasing Oxford visit

Reds assessing fitness of striker Colby Bishop

7 February 2022

John Coleman won’t dwell on Saturday and is now fully focused on promotion-chasing Oxford United as Accrington Stanley look for their first league win of 2022.

The Reds boss admitted he was ‘beat’ after the 1-0 loss to league leaders Rotherham on Saturday when Stanley were awarded an 85th minute penalty, a Millers fan ran onto the pitch and kicked the ball off the spot and Harry Pell’s delayed spot kick was then saved.

Coleman said he ‘expected’ the game to be abandoned, not that he wanted it to, but felt the Reds were on the end of a number of poor decisions from the officials.

However, all his attention is now on Karl Robinson’s side who are in-form, fifth in the league, with three wins and a draw in their last four games and 14 goals scored in those encounters.

“I am beaten with referees and decisions, every week it sounds like I am a Moaning Minnie and looking for excuses. I don’t have to look for excuses, they are there for everyone to see,” said the Reds boss.

“People think all I want to do is castigate referees, I don’t, but anyone who has watched us this season will know we have been on the rough end of around 19/20 big, big decisions, game changers, and that’s too much for one team.

“It gets you down and it finally got me down.

“There is no point complaining now. The only way to relieve the pain is to get out of the game from my point of view so I have got to go through the pain for as long as I am involved in football.

“Officials don’t make mistakes on purpose, people are human, they don’t always get things right. I don’t always get things right, I make loads of mistakes, but you have got to be big enough to admit you make mistakes and do your best to learn from them, that’s all you can do.

“That fans intervention played a big part in them winning the game. It’s made Harry Pell wait four minute to take the pen, he has also been man-handled. You damned if you do or don’t. Do you stop him taking the pen when he is desperate to take it?

“But I drew a line under all that at 9pm on Saturday, I have worked a lot on training my mind to be positive and to eliminate negative thoughts. I wouldn’t be speaking about it if I wasn’t being asked. All my focus now is coming up with a plan to beat Oxford.”

The Reds have gone six games without a win – with four draws in that – but he knows he has strength in depth with four January signings to boost his squad as they look to get back on track.

“It’s a while since we won at home (against Rotherham on Boxing Day) but saying that it’s a while since we lost at home although I don’t like draws, particularly at home.

“The element of luck is frightening in football but you have to keep knocking on the door and eventually it will open.

“We have gone to the league leaders on Saturday, we have had nearly double their shots on goal, executed a well-thought out game plan and we couldn’t have applied it any better.

“We were possibly a bit unlucky not to win the game but very unlucky not to get something out of it. But you move on and always try to be better.

“We are playing against a very good Oxford side tomorrow who have had some wonderful results. We have watched them a few times, we know what to expect, they are a good footballing team but we can compete against anybody.

“We have improved defensively, we have defended better than our goals against column suggests, we are eliminating silly mistakes and it took a wonder goal to beat us on Saturday.

“We have a big squad, we have never had the riches we have had, certainly this season, being able to have four quality players not even on the bench and leave good players at home.

“It shows the strength in depth and we are getting the players back from injury which is helpful.

“Things are looking promising for the strength of the squad and it’s up to me to pick the right team on any given day and make the right subs at the right time.”

The Reds are assessing the fitness of top scorer Colby Bishop (ankle) who missed the Millers game.

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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