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INTERVIEW: Fans deserve Wembley dream says Coley

Bolton stand in way of first trip to national stadium for the Reds

21 February 2023


INTERVIEW: Fans deserve Wembley dream says Coley

Bolton stand in way of first trip to national stadium for the Reds

21 February 2023

John Coleman is determined not to get carried away but says a first trip to Wembley for Accrington Stanley is what the loyal fans deserve.

The Reds take on League One promotion-chasers Bolton Wanderers at the Wham Stadium in the Papa Johns Trophy semi-final tomorrow night.

It’s a sell-out for the visiting fans and Coleman knows it promises to be a ‘cracking atmosphere’ at the Wham as the two sides meet for a chance to play at the national stadium – with the tie over 90 minutes and then straight to penalties, if needed.

Stanley have been boosted by a win over Shrewsbury on Saturday which moved them out of the bottom four, ahead of tomorrow night’s huge clash.

“The fans were outstanding on Saturday, they showed what they have been about for the last 20-odd years Jimmy (Bell) and I have been here, and certainly the last six or years - how they are the 12th man,” said the Reds boss.

“They were magnificent, they never stopped chanting, they give the lads so much confidence, they kept them driving forwards and we need to do it for them.

“We need to give them their day out, we have to reward their loyalty. I can’t praise them enough. They have shared our ups and downs. These fans deserve it and I hope they get it.”

Coleman won’t underestimate Bolton though who, prior to losing to Wycombe on Saturday, had won their two previous games 5-0.

“Bolton have been on an unbelievable run although they lost on Saturday to an in-form team in Wycombe.

“I look at Bolton’s teams, the players they have got to use, their squad is magnificent, they have strength in depth.

“They will believe they can have a tilt at the Play-Offs and it’s nice to see them do well but not against us.

“We took a two-goal lead against Bolton here earlier in the season and let ourselves down, admittedly it was different players.

“They are impressive, they are consistently top of charts in most things they do. Now and again they have a blip and we have to hope they have a blip tomorrow and we find our feet and get confidence from the win on Saturday and take it forward.

“It’s a 90-minute game and we will throw everything we have got at it, like they will.

“It promises to be a cracking atmosphere, they will bring a lot and our fans will be brilliant as always.”

Coleman has always been a big fan of the competition.

“It’s a wonderful competition. In its first incarnation, I loved it when eight out of the Conference teams could play in it, maybe I have a soft spot from that.

“It’s a chance to make some money and put a trophy in your cabinet when chances are limited to win trophies for a small club in League One.”

Seb Quirk and Nathan Butler-Oyedeji are cup-tied while Sean McConville and Tommy Leigh are being assessed.

Toby Savin is out on loan while Doug Tharme and Michael Nottingham remain under observation.

The long-term injuries are Jay Rich-Baghuelou, Joe Pritchard, Ethan Hamilton, Ryan Astley, David Morgan and Korede Adedoyin.

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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