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INTERVIEW: Sean aiming for spirit of 2018

McConville looks ahead to the League Two campaign

4 August 2023


INTERVIEW: Sean aiming for spirit of 2018

McConville looks ahead to the League Two campaign

4 August 2023

Sean McConville is hoping Accrington Stanley can find the 'spirit of 2018' to propel them again to Sky Bet League Two success.

The Reds were outsiders to win the league that year but the likes of McConville, Billy Kee, Kayden Jackson, Mark Hughes, Scott Brown, Seamus Conneely, Callum Johnson and more led Stanley to the title, five points ahead of now Premier League Luton Town.

Long-servant McConville admits the relegation last season - Stanley’s first since 1999 - was a huge blow but they are looking to bounce back as the Reds kick off their campaign against Newport County at the Wham Stadium tomorrow.

"We have to put the lowness of last season to bed," said the 34-year-old vice-captain.

"We spoke about it just after the season finished and said we have to remember that we are still fortunate enough to be a Football League club which every Accy fan would have taken in 2006. We have got to remember where we have come from.

"Probably, we were swimming in a pond which was a little bit too deep in League One but we committed ourselves to it and I felt over the years gave a good account of ourselves.

"Last season, due to injuries, suspensions and bad luck, we missed out on staying up but we have to put it to bed, remember the good things from it, as we competed in a lot of games against some big clubs, and take it into this season and try and emulate the season which took us up from League Two in 2017/18.

"I always think if you have a team spirit, camaraderie and togetherness - which we definitely had in the season we won League Two - that can count for seven or eight points and that could be the ones which take you up.

"We have to create the camaraderie in the dressing room and that will be down to the senior players, once you get that 'band of brothers' type of atmosphere, where if you hurt one you hurt us all, it will carry you a long way.

"It's tough to be back in League Two. If you eat, sleep and drink the club like I do, it will affect you and your home life. It hurts.

"But we can’t dwell on it as, if you did, you will start the season slowly. This is a fresh start, it’s one we are looking forward to, it’s a tough league, one we can’t take lightly.

"There are some big clubs in this league but we will give it a good go and, without the unfortunate luck with injuries and suspensions, we can have a successful season."

The last time Stanley played Newport was in that 2017/18 season where, on a Tuesday night, they could have clinched the league title at Rodney Parade. However they suffered a loss but it meant the Reds lifted the trophy at home to Lincoln in the next game.

"I have been speaking to Seamus about that recently. We could have clinched the league there but it was better to have won it at home against Lincoln than Newport away for the fans, so it actually worked out well."

McConville admits it will be a different type of football in League Two but the Reds are prepared for it.

"At the top end of League One, there is a lot more football, teams are lot more well-equipped to go into the Championship with bigger budgets and so on.

"In League Two it’s more rough and ready. There are more battles, you've got to win the physical battles, you have to match it.

"We have to try and hit the ground running, our forward lads scoring goals and our defensive lads keeping clean sheets, something we struggled with last season."

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

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