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INTERVIEW: Four games to go and we have to fight all the way says Coley

Manager wants heart, spirit and skill on show for Pompey clash

20 April 2023


INTERVIEW: Four games to go and we have to fight all the way says Coley

Manager wants heart, spirit and skill on show for Pompey clash

20 April 2023

John Coleman says this is his hardest season in management but he still has the belief that Accrington Stanley can be a League One team next season.

The Reds are in 23rd place in the league, three points from safety, with four games to play but have lost eight of their last ten games.

They travel to ninth placed Portsmouth on Saturday, who can still mathematically secure a Play-Off place, but four draws in their last four games has hindered their charge.

Stanley lost 2-1 to promotion-chasing Peterborough on Tuesday but Coleman says he can take a lot of heart from his side’s second half show, where they pressed the Posh goal.

“We are still in with a fighting chance and we have got to fight,” said the Reds boss.

“We had a fantastic second half against Peterborough, who are a good side.

“I have had the usual that they (Head of Referees) agree the second goal is off-side and there was a potential foul in the build-up and so, with a 1-0 scoreline at half-time and the performance we put in in the second half, it might have been a different kettle of fish.

“But it is what it is and it’s been happening to us all season so there is no point moaning about it, we have to get on with it.

“It's been a freak season as regards injuries and even freakier regarding decisions which have gone against us, major decisions which have been proven in our favour time and time again.

“But we don’t referee the game ourselves, nor should we, and we don’t want favours in the next four games. All we want is a fair crack of the whip, we want the decisions we should get to be given and we want a fighting chance.

“We have to ignore everything which goes with it and we have to concentrate on ourselves.

“We have got enough of a task to eliminate our problems and mistakes and it’s not all other people’s fault, a big proportion is our own fault, but those fine margins that could have altered the course of the season and the number of points on the board hasn’t gone for us.

“Plenty of teams will say the same and we have to focus on what we can do starting on Saturday and take comfort from the fact we gave them a good match a couple of weeks ago with ten men and see where it takes it.

“It's been my hardest season in management. We haven’t the money to spend on recognised players at this level who can command top wages.

“We have to rely on people’s hearts and spirit and try and get the skill they have to come to the fore. Sometimes it can overcome everything and we have to hope the next four games we can get something out of them.”

Stanley lost 3-1 to Portsmouth in March, with keeper Lukas Jensen shown a red card, and ex-Red Colby Bishop on target. He has scored 23 goals this season for Pompey.

Coleman continued: “We have to give ourselves a chance, keep 11 people on the pitch and stop letting in silly goals. If we do that, we have got a chance.

“We have four games to prove we can get it right and it’s getting it right at the right time and if we do that now that can be enough.

“I have done this long enough to know I can get a tune out of players, I have some cracking lads in there and we just have to go for it. I know the lads are keen to play the game on Saturday.”

Liam Coyle is suspended but those who played Tuesday came through unscathed.

The full pre-match interview with John Coleman is available to watch on the club's official YouTube channel, CLICK HERE to find out more!

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