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INTERVIEW: Coleman talks pressure, Pompey and battle at bottom

Striker Colby Bishop returns with 10th placed Portsmouth

13 March 2023


INTERVIEW: Coleman talks pressure, Pompey and battle at bottom

Striker Colby Bishop returns with 10th placed Portsmouth

13 March 2023

It’s one of Accrington Stanley’s games in hand tomorrow night – but John Coleman is just looking at it as another chance to pick up three points in their relegation battle.

The Reds welcome 10th place Portsmouth to the Wham Stadium with Pompey having won three of their last five league games but lost their last two against promotion-chasing sides.

Stanley are in 20th place, two points above the bottom four.

“It’s weird. I take no attention to the games played," said Coleman. "I think we are level on points per game so those games in hand should only be worth two points.

“We don’t think about games in hand at all. We just think every time you play you have an opportunity to get three points and we have to try and find a way to get those three points.

“The pressure is mounting every game we play, each game you play the pressure will ramp on.

“There will be more pressure this week than last week and there will be more pressure next week.

“That’s the way it’s going to go between now and the end of the season and the teams who get the points on the board quickly will be able to play with a bit more freedom at the back end of the season and they could end up with a points total they couldn’t have dreamt of.

“There will be a team in the relegation fight now who get comfortably clear of it. We are hoping we are one of those teams.

“It’s still in our own hands and, while it’s in our hands, we shouldn’t be looking at any other teams.”

Pompey have former Stanley striker Colby Bishop in their line-up, who has scored 19 goals this season since signing for Pompey in July from the Wham Stadium.

“Colby is up there as one of my best signings for Accrington,” said Coleman. “He is a smashing lad, it will be nice to see him.

“You sign loads of players throughout your career but when you sign players who are good players and good people that makes them all the more special.

“It will be good to see him and we hope he has a stinker tomorrow and then goes on and plays well until the end of the season until he plays us again.

“Portsmouth have good players and if you have that, you always have a chance. You get certain times of the season where you fall into a style of play or set of results that you can’t put your finger on why it’s happening.

"They have started to pick up points and win games, Colby scored a great goal last week, and, when you have good players, you have always got a chance of playing well so we are wary of them.”

Stanley have won their last two League One home games and picked up a point on their travels at Charlton on Saturday.

“Every point you get could be precious but we still feel it’s two points dropped from the chances we had against Charlton.

“We should do better and we are frustrated. The best way of taking the frustration out is to try and go one step further tomorrow night and hopefully we will do.

“We have got to take heart from the way we played on Saturday. We were on the front foot, we passed the ball forward better, we made more chances, we got our wide players into where they can deliver and we put some great crosses into the box, one which resulted in a goal. I think our best form of defence is attack.”

Coleman has some big decisions to make. Goalkeeper Toby Savin was recalled from a loan spell at Stevenage to step in for the suspended Lukas Jensen on Saturday and acquitted himself well.

“I was pleased for Toby, he showed a great deal of maturity. He came back and bedded right in and played well and I am pleased for him. His playing for Stevenage has helped us along the way.

“It’s a tough decision, you don’t always get your decisions right but you do it with the club’s best interest at heart.”

Sean McConville is also back from a two game ban.

“Sean has been great for us all his career. He had a couple of dips this season but you know his experience and you know how much the club means to him so that gives you a slant of bias because you know he will go through a brick wall for a club.”

Rosaire Longelo is hoping to have shaken off a kick from Saturday but, apart from the long-term injuries (Joe Pritchard, Jay Rich-Baghuelou, David Morgan, Ryan Astley, Liam Coyle, Ethan Hamilton), everyone else is fit.

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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