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INTERVIEW: We will fight all the way says Coley

Shrews next as Stanley battle to get out of bottom four

16 February 2023

Accrington Stanley boss John Coleman says his team have the belief and talent to get themselves out of the bottom four – starting with this Saturday’s visit of promotion-chasing Shrewsbury Town.

Steve Cotterill’s side have won six out of the last seven league games – their last match was a draw – which has propelled them up to eighth place in the League One table.

However Coleman has a few experienced players returning from injury and was happy with his side’s performance against Wycombe on Tuesday night, despite the 2-0 loss, and is confident they can turn their current form around.

“Mitch Clark, Seamus Conneely and Michael Nottingham all played a big part in the Under 23s game yesterday which is good for us,” said the Reds boss.

“We need to try and build on Tuesday’s performance. The players gave their all and they were back to the attacking threat against a Wycombe team flowing with confidence, sweeping everyone aside, and we have probably given them the toughest game they have had in the last four weeks.

“That bodes well, we know we can do it again and we have players who are desperate to get out of the situation we are in.  We have got to try and build on that performance on Tuesday by putting the ball into the net, keep working hard and hopefully our luck will change.”

Stanley have just one league win in 2023 – in seven league games – but with 17 games left, Coleman is confident his team can get out of the bottom four.

“I believe we have players here who will fight tooth and nail to get us out of the situation we are in. Two wins changes everything, you only have to look at Morecambe for that.

“We have got talented players here and we have got to get them playing to their maximum.

“The best way to get out of trouble is getting yourself out of it and not relying on anyone else, we have got get our heads down and focus on what we do and let other people take care of themselves.”

Stanley have 27 points from their 29 league games so far.

“I don’t think 40 points will be enough this year, I think you have got to be touching the 50 mark and everyone in that bottom seven will be thinking the same.

“We have got to have a better finish to the season that our start or mid-season but history tells you we normally finish a season strongly.

“You have got to be up for the challenge, we have worked our socks off to get into the league so we will not throw the opportunity away to stay in the league.

“The fans who have stuck with since day one, when me and Jimmy (Bell) first arrived, if you had said when we were playing Belper that we would be playing Sheffield Wednesday, and be disappointed when we get beat, it’s dream academy stuff.

“We know how hard we have worked to get here and how hard we are going to work to try and stay here.”

The Shrews are the in-form team in the league.

“Shrewsbury have good players, physical players who can hurt you, they have good attackers," added Coleman.

“Sometimes you get on a run and you don’t know how you got on it. Shrewsbury have had a classic case of binge winning. They have got on a run and can’t stop winning. A lot of teams do that in our league and I would love to have a binge!”

Liam Coyle is suspended after picking up 10 bookings this season.

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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