MANAGER John Coleman has begun to hate October.
Every year since he became a manager, his sides have stuttered in the tenth month and none so more than this year.
In six games, Stanley have won just once - Hereford at home - and have had an early exit from the LDV Vans Trophy alongside Monday's humiliating defeat to Conference North strugglers Worcester in the FA Cup.
"I was devastated after that," said the Reds chief. "But every year in my 10 year managerial career, I have had Black Octobers. Last year we had a bad run and, even when we won the UniBond Premier League and had a good season, our October results were horrendous. I don't know why it is as it is my birthday as well."
The manager, who has said there could be comings and goings over the next few weeks, knows his side have to put the smiles back on the fans faces tomorrow (Sat) when they face Conference promotion contenders York following the 3-2 shock loss at Worcester.
"There is no way we should be losing to teams like that," he said. "It was a lot to ask Andy Dibble to play four games in nine days. Maybe I should have sorted a keeper out but we have been decimated by injuries.
"You look at the back four and you would never have envisaged that line-up at the start of the season. We have Andy Tretton, Peter Cavanagh, Robbie Williams and Danny Alcock all injured - potentially four of our starting back five. Saying that, Danny Ventre and Michael Welch did not do too badly but we were done by free kicks into the box - which we shouldn't be.
"And we felt there was a clear cut penalty when Boco was brought down when we were 2-0 up."
Coleman continued: "I saw the referee after the game and he said there was contact. So if the lad has clipped Boco's heels, when he is clean through on goal and the ref has admitted there was contact, why hasn't he given a penalty? It defies belief.
"And I think the linesman, who disallowed one of their goals, felt under pressure as we never got a decision after that - including giving them a free kick which led to the winning goal. He said David Brown pulled someone back but he was nowhere near the ball.
"But you can't blame officials - it was just compounded by them.
"I am not making excuses, we gave a daft goal away for the first one and were poor in the second half.
"But we are just not having any luck at the moment."
The Reds were so decimated by injuries that the manager put himself on the bench but admitted: "I had no intention of coming on. I thought I could run down the line and perhaps give some instructions but I just felt sick."
So now he needs his troops to battle back tomorrow against York.
"It is a huge game. I have been critical of my players saying they don't know how to win games but saying that, no one has won more games than us in the Conference.
"York have two good forwards but I am sure teams are wary of our forwards. There is no one better in the league going forward than us but we do have to defend as a team."
The Reds chief will have to make a decision over his defence. Williams is definitely out after tearing his ankle ligaments in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Worcester; Welch is still trying to get fully match fit while captain Cavanagh is out with an ankle injury.
Andy Tretton is training but is not expected back until next month and Wigan loan players Kevin Lee and Phil Edwards are expected to play a part after missing the FA Cup games.
Charlton keeper Darren Randolph is also back between the sticks, replacing veteran Andy Dibble, following Republic of Ireland Under 19 duty and the Premiership side didn't want him playing in the cup.
And winger Matty O'Neill has returned following his two month loan spell at UniBond side Radcliffe Borough - he could face his brother Joe who plays for York.
Meanwhile Coleman has eased the pressure on Paul Mullin who has scored two goals this season - although Ian Craney has claimed one.
"Paul has got a lack of confidence at the moment but what he has got to remember is that I never bought him as a goal scorer. I bought him as a player who leads the line and there is no one better in the Conference at doing that."
- ANDY PROCTER had an operation on his cruciate ligaments on Monday and will be out for six months.
- FORMER Stanley midfielder Ged Brannan has joined Conference rivals Morecambe.