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INTERVIEW: Coley looks ahead to Gillingham trip

Boss keen to utilise his squad better to avoid last season's injuries

10 August 2023


INTERVIEW: Coley looks ahead to Gillingham trip

Boss keen to utilise his squad better to avoid last season's injuries

10 August 2023

Accrington Stanley manager John Coleman knows he has to manage his squad this season as the Reds face their first away game of the League Two campaign, with a trip to Gillingham.

The Reds suffered a host of injuries last season which played a part in their relegation to League Two.

Coleman says he has learnt from last season and is managing his squad better, making eight changes in midweek for the Carabao Cup penalty shootout defeat to Bradford City.

They have already lost Norwich loan defender Lewis Shipley (ankle) for the next two months which is a blow.

"We have to try and do what’s in our power to protect the older players certainly," said Coleman.

"For example, Seamus (Conneely) only broke down last season because of the workload he had, and that was due to the cup run and games getting called off, and so we had to play a lot of games in a short space of time. I think his body wasn’t capable of doing that, nobodies would be at that age, so we are mindful of that and don’t want to repeat that process.

"The only real concern is Lewis Shipley. He had an unbelievable debut (against Newport) and then in the last minute turned his ankle going in for a header, so he is going to be a long-termer and has gone back to Norwich for treatment.

"We will be lucky if we see him within eight weeks which is a big blow for us.

"It’s sickening to lose him but we move on and maybe bring in a replacement.

"Kelvin (Mellor) has responded to treatment and we are hopeful he will be fit for Saturday.

"Sean (McConville), we didn’t want him to play two games in a short space of time if we could avoid it.

"Jay Rich-Baghuelou is coming back from being out for so long and played 110 minutes on Saturday so we didn’t start him on Tuesday.

"We don’t want to cause problems for ourselves if we can manage them and so we are trying to manage the situation.

"I don’t want to have the situation I had last year where you lose five or six players at the start of the season and then bring in youngsters who aren’t really ready.”

Both Stanley and Gillingham won their League Two openers and Coleman is hoping the long away trip will give the players a chance to gel.

"Going away will give us all a chance to bond a little bit. We will perhaps have an hour where we go phone free and get a bit of the old-fashioned human interaction.

"We do different things to break up the monotony, like quizzes and competitions."

He added: "Winning was a boost on the opening day. You don’t want to go too long without a win, you want to get a good start and then get in a position where, after five or 10 games, you are at the pleasant end of the table and you can start to see how other teams are settling down and your players are bedding in.

"A lot of squads will change before the end of the window, there will be two or three coming into most teams."

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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