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Forget the cup for now

FORGET Huddersfield for now - John Coleman wants to make sure his players are focused on Gravesend and Northfleet on Saturday.

BATTLE . . . For winger Dean Calcutt
BATTLE . . . For winger Dean Calcutt

FORGET Huddersfield for now - John Coleman wants to make sure his players are focused on Gravesend and Northfleet on Saturday.

The Reds make the trip to Kent aiming to get back to winning ways in the Conference after their first loss in 11 league games to Exeter two weeks ago. But it has been put somewhat in the shade by all the hype surrounding Stanley's FA Cup game at home to Third Division Huddersfield Town which will be screened live on the BBC1 a week on Sunday (ko 1pm).

"The Gravesend game is not forgotten by me!" said the Stanley boss. "It is fantastic that we are on television and everyone is made up but the first job in hand is getting three points at Gravesend. I am hoping the spin-off from the Huddersfield game is that everyone plays really well at Gravesend to put themselves in the frame for selection - they will all want a place in the starting line-up."

Coleman will have to tinker with his line-up as captain Peter Cavanagh and midfielder Andy Gouck are both suspended.

"I will have to have a think about those positions. Cav has been consistent for us this season and I am sure we will miss him but the advantage we have is that we have a big squad."

Striker Justin Jackson is still struggling with the flu but the Stanley chief hopes he is back in contention after missing the 2-0 win over Leigh RMI in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round on Saturday. And Dean Calcutt and striker John Durnin did well for Stanley reserves in the 4-0 win over Southport last Friday to push for a place in the team.

Winger Calcutt lives one minute from Huddersfield's McAlpine Stadium and he is hoping to get a chance to stake a claim for a starting berth a week on Sunday. He has recovered from a fractured wrist but still has to wear a light cover. Durnin has been away with Liverpool over 35s side but scored two goals against Southport.

"Both of them have got to try and force their way back into the starting line-up," said Coleman. "Dean is desperate to be involved against Huddersfield so he is fighting for a place."

Gravesend are struggling in the Conference but were boosted midweek with an FA Cup victory over Exeter. But they did need extra-time and penalties to clinch a first round game at Chester.

"They might be tired or it may just give them a lift," said Coleman. "They have a decent goalkeeper in Paul Wilkerson who kicks the ball a long way, they are quite tight at the back and have decent forwards. They are probably better than their league position suggests. They had a good result at Morecambe the other week where they drew and apparently should have won - so they are no pushover."

But Coleman knows the hype of the FA Cup game is going to follow Stanley around for the next week.

"I don't think the phones in the office have stopped ringing with people asking about tickets. We have an advantage over the other clubs with the name Accrington Stanley. I have never managed a club into the first round of the cup although I can't think of it as a cup run as we have only played one game. But I am just going to enjoy it and hope we give a good account of ourselves."

However, although Coleman is happy with his squad, he is still looking around at possible additions. Halifax's tricky winger Lee Elam has been linked with a number of Conference clubs and he is currently having a trial with Yeovil Town. Another wide player Shrewsbury's Stephen Jagielka is also arousing interest. He is the brother of Sheffield United's Phil.


Stuart Pike
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