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INTERVIEW: Coley looks ahead to FGR clash

Reds ready for Steve Cotterill's first game in charge

25 January 2024


INTERVIEW: Coley looks ahead to FGR clash

Reds ready for Steve Cotterill's first game in charge

25 January 2024

Accrington Stanley travel to bottom club Forest Green Rovers on Saturday for Steve Cotterill’s first game in charge.

Rovers appointed the experienced former Burnley boss on Thursday to replace Troy Deeney as they look to turn their fortunes around.

FGR were relegated with Stanley from League One last season and have four league wins so far in this campaign, six points adrift of safety.

Twelfth-placed Stanley still have a number of injuries although Jay Rich-Baghuelou is back in training and Tommy Leigh is on the fringes of a return.

Shaun Whalley and Sean McConville are a few weeks away while Birmingham loan striker Josh Andrews is still sidelined.

John Coleman said: "Tommy Leigh should be back quite soon, while we are waiting to hear from Birmingham on Josh Andrews.

"Liam Coyle is up in the air, Shaun Whalley is not too far off and Sean McConville had an injection yesterday so hopefully we will have him for the run-in.

"We have lost wide players in Rosaire Longelo, Sean McConville, Shaun Whalley while Matt Lowe can play out there too - and so then you are going into youth team players and first team pros.

"We have also lost Josh Andrews, Korede Adedoyin and Tommy Leigh as attacking players so we are still trying to bolster the squad with a forward or two."

The youngsters in Dan Martin, Alex Henderson and Connor O’Brien especially have stepped up to the first team.

"It's good for the lads, we won't play them if we don't trust them and when we feel they are ready, we will play them. They seem to be adapting and adapting well."

Anjola Popoola, aged 16, has scored 26 goals for the Under-18s and Coleman is keeping an eye on his progress.

"He is a talent but in last three seasons we have had remarkable goalscorers in the youth team, like Leslie Adekoya and Calvin Harper, and Anjola is the next one.

"They are all different types of players and it's fitting him into League Two football and getting the best out of him.

"Time will tell on Anjola, he is still very young. Hopefully he will start training with us more regularly and he will get a handle of what's expected."

Coleman says they have done their homework on Rovers, despite the recent appointment.

The Reds beat Rovers 2-1 in October with an Andrews double.

"If you look at Forest Green Rovers, they have good players.

"They did quite well against us here and we were fortunate to win that game.

"I went to watch them against Salford and they should have won that game.

"I have watched big parts of them at the weekend, I don't think they look like a bottom of the table side even though they are there.

"These are the games where they believe can kick start their season by getting a win and we have to do everything to stop them doing that.

"There can be a new manager response. You just get a different reaction from the players initially and then it's do they buy into the new manager's style and if they do you have a chance of going places. If they don't you go down the road of getting another manager to try and fit the bill."

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