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INTERVIEW: We need everyone behind us says Coley

Cambridge is 'most important home game we have played'

27 April 2023

John Coleman says everyone can play their part in what he describes as the biggest game of his long Accrington Stanley career when Cambridge United visit the Wham Stadium on Saturday.

The U's are in 23rd place in League One, one place and one point behind Stanley, but have a game in hand against Burton Albion which they play next week.

A win for either side would boost their chances of staying up although they are dependent on the results from Oxford United and MK Dons, who are out of the drop zone by three and two points respectively.

Stanley ended a run of four losses with a huge victory over Play-Off chasing Bolton on Tuesday night which keeps them fighting with two games to play.

The Reds have offered 1,000 £5 tickets for the Coppice End and Coleman hopes the Wham Stadium is bouncing.

“The fans make a massive contribution every week,” said the Reds boss. “The Clayton End have been fantastic through thick and thin as has the away support.

“To be kicking into your fans in both halves, it’s got to help you.

“Saturday’s game is huge. Since we have been here it’s probably going to be the most important home game we have played and we have got to get back to playing the way I know we can play, making it an uncomfortable place to come to.

“When we play the football we usually play, we pin teams in, we make it uncomfortable for them, the crowd get really raucous and it’s a splendid cocktail to dominate and win games.

“We haven’t played like that this season. We have to get back to this, but it’s easier said than done.

“Cambridge will be coming into this game thinking it’s as equally important to them as it is to us so it’s two teams who will feel a draw isn’t good enough so it should be an attacking game, and we have to try and find a way to come out on top.”

The victory over Bolton has given the Reds a lift but they need to follow it up.

“We had a little spell earlier on in the season where we won three on the spin, I don’t think we have won two on the spin since then, so it will be much-needed if we can.

“The win at Bolton has given us as chance but we are still going to have to hope other teams slip up.

“In the main we have shown a great spirit this season but we have let ourselves down about four or five times in games where you think ‘it’s not us’. As a manager it’s frustrating as you can’t put your finger on why it’s happening and you have six or seven players having an off day on one afternoon so we have to make sure we execute our game-plan perfectly, as we did on Tuesday.”

It’s Cambridge on Saturday and then Oxford on the final day of the season. They moved themselves three points away from the bottom four with a win on Tuesday.

Coleman continued: “I think we will have to win both games and that might not be enough. All we can do is do our job. We have to give it everything we have got.

“It reminds me of the Macclesfield game in 2007 where it was one we couldn’t afford to lose and we were 2-0 down and we managed to come back to 3-2. This feels like that game.

“But it’s all about the now. You have to use your past experiences, that’s something you can draw on, and it revolves around positive thinking. You have to go into the game in a positive frame of mind and believe the game-plan will work and the players have to buy into that.

“Since mid-October we have had the prospect of relegation, it’s not the first season it’s like this.

“It’s probably the worst situation me and Jimmy (Bell) have got ourselves in since we have been at the club, maybe the Macclesfield game too, that was on a par. It’s going to be difficult.

“Whatever way you dress it up at the start of the season, four teams have to go down. I don’t particularly agree with that it as I feel it should be three-three standard across the board, including the Conference, but it’s not and you know it when you go into the league.

“It’s going to be four good teams to go down, good clubs, we don’t want to be one of them but it’s a reality that you are going to be fighting around this end while there are big clubs in there.

“You can compete with them on one-offs but you can’t compete with them over the season as their resources dwarf you.

“That doesn’t mean you throw the towel in, you give it a good go and in the main we have done great but you are going to have a year where things don’t go your way but we are still in there.

“I think Seamus (Conneely) alluded to it last week, it will be a wonderful achievement if we get out of it and rebuild for next year.

“It would be the biggest moment of my career. If this group of players can get over the line, it would be a great achievement for everyone.”

Liam Coyle is back from suspension and Sean McConville is being monitored having come off on Tuesday night.

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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