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INTERVIEW: Coley ready for Newport in season opener at the Wham

Manager looks ahead to season opener against Newport County

3 August 2023


INTERVIEW: Coley ready for Newport in season opener at the Wham

Manager looks ahead to season opener against Newport County

3 August 2023

John Coleman is expecting a big season from his players as Accrington Stanley kick off the 2023/24 Sky Bet League Two campaign with a visit from Newport County.

Coleman has made four additions to the squad over the summer while a host of players have left but he admitted he needed to overhaul the squad that finished just two points from safety last season in League One.

The Reds boss has high expectations of loan signings, striker Josh Andrews (Birmingham) and Norwich defenders Lewis Shipley and Brad Hills, with experienced left-back Kelvin Mellor also coming into the squad in a permanent deal.

Among those departing were regulars Ethan Hamilton, Harvey Rodgers, Michael Nottingham and Mitch Clark.

"I am looking forward to the new season now," said Coleman. "We have worked hard in pre-season.

"There has been a little bit of an overhaul of the squad, more going out than coming in to be fair which probably needed to be done.

"I am happy with the players I have signed and hopefully we can get one or two more in who will enhance our squad.

"I am really pleased with the two young lads from Norwich, they have taken to it like a duck to water. Kelvin has experience but is a little bit behind on the training which is a hindrance for him. Jay (Rich-Baghuelou) will get stronger the more he plays.

"The lads are all buying into what we want to do here.

"We have to get our heads down and not worry too much long term but worry about the next game and that’s our focus this week."

The Exiles finished in 15th place last season and manager Graham Coughlan has signed former Reds keeper Jonny Maxted over the summer.

"Graham knows the leagues, knows how to set up a team and did really well with Bristol Rovers. We know, like last season, every game will be tough.

"What we have to do, certainly at home, is to enthral our fans more, we have to ramp up the intensity.

"We saw it in certain times last year, but not enough. Probably the game which cost us was the Cambridge game at home, if we had won that we would have stayed up.

"They are the games we have to get the fans rocking which I know they will be if we serve up something for them."

Stanley were the second lowest scorers in the league last season and had the fourth worst defence and Coleman knows his team need to make an impact at both ends of the pitch.

"All over the park, the pressure is on. We have to keep the ball out of the net, which is something we didn’t do enough of last year.

"We conceded some calamitous goals last season and we conceded far too many.

"And if you are not scoring as well, which we didn’t, it’s a recipe for disaster.

"We have good attacking options now, we have the ability to change the system a little better and hopefully we will strengthen."

Coleman is also hoping that the production line from the Academy continues.

"Aaron Pickles has done very well and he is staking a claim for such a young age. He could be the next Ross Sykes. There are young lads desperate to get a place too, they want to put themselves in the spotlight."

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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