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INTERVIEW: Coley previews Bolton round of 16 tie

Reds boss urges home fans to help them get closer to Wembley dream

9 January 2024


INTERVIEW: Coley previews Bolton round of 16 tie

Reds boss urges home fans to help them get closer to Wembley dream

9 January 2024

John Coleman firmly believes "one year it will be Accrington Stanley’s year" to reach Wembley in the Bristol Street Motors Trophy - and hopes his side can take one step closer tomorrow night.

It's a tough ask as the Reds take on League One promotion-chasers Bolton Wanderers who are five games unbeaten in all competitions going into tomorrow night's Wham Stadium clash (7.30pm kick-off).

Ian Evatt's men have former Stanley striker Dion Charles starring for them with 15 goals so far this season.

The Reds, meanwhile, are still suffering from injuries up front with Birmingham loan striker Josh Andrews sidelined.

Stanley got knocked out in the semi-finals by Bolton last season, after having Sean McConville sent off early on, and The Trotters went on to win the competition.

And Coleman is urging the home fans to get behind his team to give them all the help they can to get revenge for last season's defeat.

"I would implore all our fans who are wavering whether to come to please come," said Coleman.

"We put up a great show last year, we were very unfortunate with the decisions which went against us and showed a lot of character.

"The fans know what they are getting off our team – honesty, good football when they can and a great deal of energy and effort.

"We know Bolton have a smashing squad. I would be surprised if they don't go up this season.

"They have got good players to cover each position, they rotate well, and they have good options.

"The finance from getting further in this competition would make a big difference to us.

"But the big incentive is the Wembley appearance and every club wants that.

"Bolton are the holders and they will want the Wembley experience again."

Coleman has always been a fan of competition, blooding a number of younger players in it.

"I have always treated this competition with respect and embraced it from the early days.

"Our immediate big challenge is Bolton tomorrow and, even if we beat them, we then come up against another good club.

"We have to keep going and hopefully one year it will be our year.

"It's been vital competition for us, it's a great opportunity for youngers players. It's something they will never forget, making debut in front of a crowd."

The Reds have had a break, with no game last weekend, and Coleman has mixed feelings about it.

"We probably needed the break with the injuries we have had but you still have to train and you pick up injuries in training.

"You could fall into the trap of 'woe is me' and negativity with all the injuries.

"But there are positives which can come of it such as Connor O'Brien grabbing his opportunity; Alex Henderson, Lewis Trickett and Leslie Adekoya getting minutes; Josh Woods emerging and Ben Woods and Dan Martin have been flourishing in midfield as well.

"It's not all doom and gloom.

"Obviously, we would like all our players fit but that's the nature of the game. The last couple of years it's been a horrendous, I don't apportion any blame and I am not going to feel sorry for myself and I won't let the players feel sorry for themselves.

"We have to concentrate on what we have got and go and try and win games."

'Keeper Toby Savin is still a couple of weeks away.

Long-term injuries Jay Rich-Baghuelou, Liam Coyle, Matt Lowe, Seb Quirk, Rosaire Longelo, Josh Andrews, and Seb Quirk remain sidelined, with Ben Woods also suspended.

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