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INTERVIEW: FA Cup begins again as Coley remembers historic cup run 20 years ago

Reds boss looks ahead to Doncaster Rovers with £41,000 prize money up for grabs

2 November 2023


INTERVIEW: FA Cup begins again as Coley remembers historic cup run 20 years ago

Reds boss looks ahead to Doncaster Rovers with £41,000 prize money up for grabs

2 November 2023

It’s 20 years since Accrington Stanley embarked on the FA Cup run which changed their history as the Reds begin another cup campaign on Saturday.

In 2003, then non-league Stanley beat Leigh RMI and then league sides Huddersfield and Bournemouth in the first and second round before losing to Colchester in a replay in the third round.

The finances helped the club go full-time, win the Conference title in 2006 and bring league football back to Accrington after 44 years.

On Saturday, the most famous cup competition beings again for the Play-Off chasing Reds who make the trip to fellow League Two side Doncaster Rovers, who are 17th in the table and who have won three of their last four league games.

"It brings back great memories," said manager John Coleman. "A lot has changed at the club since then but the core values haven't changed – hard work, attention to detail, trying to maximise what you have got, not complaining, rolling your sleeves up, trying to play good football – that’s still our motto.

"I think in any cup run you need a little bit of luck along the way, we did against Bournemouth, but that cup run, along with Brett Ormerod getting sold, enabled us to go full-time and if we hadn't gone full-time we wouldn’t be where we are now.

"There are a lot of people who got through a lot of work to get us where we are now.

"For a club like us, the FA Cup is still massive. If we can win on Saturday and get through the next round it can make a big, big difference to your recruitment in January and whether you stay in this league or whether you try and attempt to get out of this league upwards – a lot of it can depend on having a good cup run just as we did all those years ago. The changed the total course of the club."

The prize money for winning the first round is £41,000.

Coleman continued: "I don’t think Doncaster would be particularly pleased with playing a team at their own level. You just have to deal with whatever the draw brings you. That's the beauty of a cup draw.

"We have played teams from our league and won, played teams from the league above and won and played teams from below and won – and lost in all these to. Anything is possible. We will prepare like a league game.

"I watched Doncaster against Everton in the Carabao Cup and they did really well and I watched them against Tranmere in the league  a couple of weeks ago and they won and played well. It's a tough test.

"The good thing is I haven't had to pick our lads up this week, they were bubbly despite Saturday's loss. I think they realised they had played well and just hadn't put the ball in the net, but it's a case of keeping them stoked."

Jay Rich-Baghuelou and Brad Hills return from their one game suspensions and Tommy Leigh, who has picked up five bookings, is eligible for the FA Cup but will miss next week's league trip to Crawley.

Meanwhile, Coleman praised the Stanley youth team who beat Salford City 3-0 last night in the first round of the FA Youth Cup.

"It's my favourite time of the year. It thrills me to see their excitement, they seem to raise their game every time they play in it.

"I love speaking to them at half and full-time. It was a cracking game of football, they played some really nice football and it was very pleasing. Hopefully they will want to taste more of that."

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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