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Lutel: League football will come

ACCRINGTON Stanley's play-off hopes may be fading this season but Lutel James says promotion will happen next year.


ACCRINGTON Stanley's play-off hopes may be fading this season but Lutel James says promotion will happen next year.

The striker has scored 16 Conference goals this season and has been the only player to start every league game. He admits it is frustrating that things have gone off the boil now - the Reds are in eighth place on the verge of the play-offs although there is a nine-point gap.

But James says there will be no excuses next season if they don't win promotion

"I expect us to be up in the top three next season when we are full-time," said the 31-year-old hitman. "If you play football all day and that is your job, then I expect us to be up near the top all season and be playing in the Football League the season after.

"I think we are only struggling now because we are all so tired. You can see it in the play - we are jaded. I know it is no excuse the fact we aren't full time - that is an easy excuse - but it is hard when lads are working full-time and then training and playing.

"And it is hitting us all at once - it is going through the whole team. I think the season has just caught up with us. The whole team feels sluggish. We need to get our legs back and the energy levels up and see where it takes us.

"I wouldn't say the play-off hopes are gone this season as you never know what will happen but we have got to pull together and get out there and get some results. We don't become a bad team overnight - we are just tired."

Boss John Coleman did give the players the week off training and James is hoping the break will revitalise him and his team-mates for the run-in to the end of the season.

"I have never been so tired at the back end of the season - usually that is when I score the most goals. If you look at the last two seasons, that is when I have scored.

"I don't feel like I will score any more goals at this moment but I know once I get out onto the pitch I will do everything I can to get over the 20 goals mark. I am determined to do that.

"I suppose when you look back over the season we have been a victim of our own success - the FA Cup was great but it did seem to drag on and I think it took the emphasis off the league. We have raised the expectations. That is why it is catching up - but when we are full-time next season there are no excuses."

The striker has been struggling with knee trouble and was having an X-ray this week although he is hopeful he will start Saturday's home game against Halifax.

"I don't want to miss any games but it is just a niggling injury so I need it looking at. But I expect us to win our home games no matter who we play. They are full-time but we should win at home and I will be disappointed if we don't."


Stuart Pike
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