How we use Cookies

Accy's Easter rising

Captain Andy Procter admits the next two games could define Stanley’s season.

Captain Andy Procter admits the next two games could define Stanley’s season.

With four games left of the League Two campaign, the Reds are only outside the play-off places on goal difference and face Bradford at home tomorrow before a huge clash at fellow promotion-chasers Shrewsbury on Easter Monday.

"We have the best chance we have ever had to go up and these next two games are massive," said the 27-year-old. "These are defining games of the season and we have got to win at home to Bradford to keep pace with the promotion pack and then Shrewsbury is a real six pointer.

"We have a tough run-in but Shrewsbury is the only game we play against a team above us.

"Everyone at the top is playing each other and now it’s whoever can put a consistent run together in the next four games can make it into the top seven.

"It’s in our hands and the spirits are high in the camp, We are a young squad but I believe we can hold our nerve."

Boss John Coleman admits his side may have to play ugly to reach the play-off places, with Barnet and Burton their final two games of the normal season.

The Reds fans are more used to seeing the free-flowing football which has guided Stanley to eighth place but Coleman says this will be tricky.

"Every week it’s another big game and these two are the biggest at the moment," said the Reds boss, with Stanley going for a spot in the third tier of English football for the first time since 1960.

"I think though it’s a time when teams have to grind out results because of the pitches, which will be bobbly and difficult to play passing football on.

"Bradford won’t be an easy game as I watched them against Burton midweek. Chances were at a premium but they took one each. They are not safe yet and they have some good players.

"But we have got to get back to the form that won us eight on the bounce at home. We have got to get back to putting teams under pressure."

He continued: "I must admit it is a mixture of nerves and excitement, looking forward to games now.

"I wish we had had a game midweek to get the 0-0 draw against Oxford last Saturday out of our system but now we know every game is crucial. Every game brings its own pressure.

"But the players, this season, have coped with the pressure. They have come through and I expect them to come through in the final four games of the season.

"There is a buzz around the ground and another win will make the atmosphere even better."

Coleman admits the Shrewsbury clash – with Graham Turner’s side chasing the automatic promotion spots – will be a different kind of game for the Reds.

"It’s a different scenario to our last group of games. Apart from the first 10 minutes against Macclesfield, we haven’t really had a team that has come at us recently and Shrewsbury will do this.

"They desperately need to win and we do so it should be a good game."

Chesterfield are all-but promoted and Coleman said: "I expect Bury to go up with them and then it’s anyone really – anyone can still do it and it’s still there for us."

The Reds boss has made headlines again this week for speaking out about the wages still not being paid at the Crown Ground, despite the change of ownership with chairman Ilyas Khan now in charge.

"What upsets me is when they are promised and it does not materialise," he said. "We are in arrears which is frustrating and, with wages not paid, we can’t even think about new contracts for the players."

Khan, who also has the £30,000-a-month tax bill to deal with, said: "It is all getting sorted out. It has taken time. I think John and Jimmy (Bell) and all the players have been brilliant in dealing with this."

Meanwhile Coleman said more Stanley players than just Jimmy Ryan would have been in his PFA League Two Team of the Year.

Midfielder Ryan was selected after his stunning shows this season and Coleman said: "Jimmy has won it for his all-action displays. He did hit a spell where perhaps he wasn’t as effective this season but he has been back to his best. To be honest, I think four or five Accrington players could easily have made it. Hand on heart, I think Phil Edwards is the best defender in League Two and he would be in my team every time."

And captain Procter, who travelled down to the London PFA awards on Sunday with Ryan, said: "It is a great achievement for Jimmy and it is just rewards for all his hard work. We were lucky enough to sit on Jack Wilshere’s table so we had a good evening."

Procter was confident he would recover after suffering a cut leg in the goalless draw against Oxford on Saturday. "The keeper clipped my heels and I stumbled and came off with a cut leg. It was a bit of a mess but I will be fine."

STANLEY’S reserves lost 2-0 to Burnley at Turf Moor on Wednesday. It was a strong Reds team including Ian Dunbavin, Ray Putterill, Craig Lindfield, Andy Parkinson and Rory Boulding.

 
comments powered by Disqus

Premier League News

Journalists

Stuart Pike
Deputy editor specialising in politics
Alex Bell
Crime
Bethany English
District reporter
Beth Abbit
Court reporter
Jon Macpherson
Reporter
Kate Watkins
Reporter specialising in communities
Garth Dawson
Photographer and columnist