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John's new deal

ACCRINGTON Stanley boss John Coleman is set to put pen to paper on a three-year deal.

ACCRINGTON Stanley boss John Coleman is set to put pen to paper on a three-year deal.

The Reds boss is giving up his job as a primary school teacher after years of training to go full-time with the club next season. And chairman Eric Whalley has rewarded him and his assistnat Jimmy Bell with a lengthy contract.

"It is one of my dreams to be a full-time football manager so I am pleased," said the Reds chief. "I did not have to think long and hard about it. I want to be successful in football and I want to do it with Accrington Stanley so it is good to have things settled. We can't stand still, things have got to move forward, and Eric and myself have the same desire."

That desire is to get Stanley into the Football League again.

"That has always been the aim since I came here."

The chairman said: "We have got to be realistic. We have had some great years since they have been here and both he and Jimmy have got to have some security."

It is the first time the 40-year-old has been involved in football full-time.

"I had a month's spell at Wigan and Stockport when I was younger but never got the chance to go full-time. It just shows it is never too late!"

The planning starts for next season this week with Coleman planning to sit down and talk to all the players who will be staying or going today.

"I have already spoken to a few who are staying and I think those that are going already have an idea but it all needs sorting out. I have got a hit-list for next season with seven players on it and I want them all, if I can."

It means some of the players might be making their final Stanley appearance on Saturday against play-off chasing Exeter. And Coleman hopes they will finish with a flurry.

The Grecians - who have angered many clubs in the Conference after their threatened legal action against the league - need a win to stand a chance of a top five spot.

Coleman, meanwhile, wants to remain in the top ten - and a possible place in the LDV Vans Trophy next season.

"In my eight years as a manager, I have never finished lower than half way so personally I want to keep that little run going. We are not sure what the LDV places are for next season but we just want to finish as high up as possible. Exeter have a lot to play for but I think we will win tomorrow.

"All season we have just been one or two things away from being successful - we haven't had the best of luck but you do make your own luck in this game. It has been a long hard season so we just want one last push."

Stanley have suspension problems for tomorrow with Rory Prendergast, Dean Calcutt, Robbie Williams and Andy Gouck all missing the final game.


Stuart Pike
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