Stanley boss Leam Richardson reckons it’ll be a thrilling end to the League Two season – and he wants to be in a position to enjoy it.
With six games left the Reds are still firmly in the battle to beat the drop and it’s almost as tight at the other end of the table.
Despite losing at leaders Gillingham last week, Richardson remains confident Stanley will achieve survival but he’s eager to have it in the bag long before the final day.
“I think it’ll go down to the wire,” he said. “For a neutral it’ll be great to watch and hopefully we won’t be part of it.
“So you must take care of yourself and get as many points on the board as soon as you can.”
The Easter weekend is traditionally a crucial period but few promotion and relegation issues will be settled this Easter with the league so closely contested.
The Reds visit mid-table Wycombe this afternoon before hosting third-placed Burton on Monday, and while Richardson admits he’ll take four points from the double-header, he’s challenging his players to go out and get all six.
“We’ve got six games left and it’s a case of winning games, regardless of who you play and how you play,” said the Stanley boss.
“We need to win games and it’s a bonus that we’re playing well. But I’ll take it if we don’t play so well and win games.
“When you are playing well it does give you confidence that you will pick the results up, so the attitude from myself to the lads is very confident and quite brash, but it puts the onus and responsibility on our shoulders to win games.
“It’s pleasing that the players have taken my attitude on things. I don’t fear anybody in the league because I believe in what I do and I think the group’s come on in leaps and bounds. If we continue to play like we are doing, with the appetite and endeavour – and add to it this week – then I think we’ll be ok.
“I don’t think there’s an easy game at this time of year,” Richardson added.
“I learnt quite early in football that if you mark down a few games you think you should win, you usually don’t win them.
“I know we’ve got two games in a few days but we won’t be thinking about Burton until seven o’clock Friday.”
Gareth Ainsworth, a former Blackburn trainee and Preston midfielder, has led Wycombe out of relegation trouble since becoming player-manager in September but the Chairboys go into today’s game three without a win.
“Wycombe are a good team,” said Richardson. “When they were down there early in the season it surprised everybody because they’re a League One club, with the finance, the structure.
“They’ve been able to add quite regularly to the squad so it’ll be a tough game – but it’ll be a good game.
“We’ve just come back from Gillingham, who are top of the league, but we actually went down there feeling we could win the game so we’ll do exactly the same.
“We’ll go down there full of confidence – performance and results-wise over the last three or four weeks – so we’ll expect to bring a positive result back.”
Rommy Boco could return at right midfield after returning from international duty. The versatile 27-year-old played in Benin’s 3-1 defeat by Algeria on Tuesday.
It was his 47th international appearance and his first since returning to the Crown Ground from Sligo last August.
Peter Murphy should continue at right-back as Nicky Hunt (hamstring) remains doubtful. Francis Jeffers came off with a hamstring problem at Gillingham and although he’s unlikely to feature today, Richardson is hopeful the striker will be fit enough for Burton.
“If he’s still 50-50 on Monday I’d rather leave him and have a fully fit Francis Jeffers for the last four fixtures,” added the Reds boss.
“We’ve got a couple of other knocks and bruises as well so we’ve been trying to regroup this week and be light in training, ready for the games over the weekend.”
When the Accrington Observer went to press, Richardson was trying to boost his squad with another loan signing with the loan window about to shut.
“I think it’s a must, we need to have a stronger squad,” he said before yesterday’s deadline. “We’re very light at the minute and if we lose another one or two we’d be struggling to fill the bench.
“Although the finances aren’t the answer because we’ve got none, I’m looking for a few favours and a bit of help from people to lend us a few players. My whole day will consist of begging, stealing and borrowing!”