JOHN Coleman has told his players to shape up or ship out after the disappointing FA Trophy loss to underdogs Worksop on Tuesday.
Despite the Reds have a commanding 10 point lead at the top of the Conference table, the manager is furious that his team failed to reach the last eight of the prestigious competition against lower opposition, going out on penalties at Worskop after a draw at the Interlink on Saturday.
And he is now going to hope his side raise their game for their huge league clash with in-form Dagenham and Redbridge tomorrow (Sat) at the Interlink as the Reds look to get back on track.
It is just one defeat in 18 games for Stanley but Coleman is taking no prisoners.
"My job is now to pick the team up after the defeat although I have to pick myself up first," said the gutted boss. "I think a few of the players owe me a big performance after the last two games against Worksop.
"If they do not give me it then they can go and find another club.
"I know we only have a small squad but I can go out and get four or five emergency loan players in and I will do that if necessary.
"I have asked about a couple this week although do not expect them to be in before the weekend.
"The game at Worskop was so disappointing as I do not expect people not to try. Perhaps they didn't understand how much the FA Trophy means.
"Everyone is going on about the run and perhaps some of the players have fallen into the trap of thinking the job is done and if they have, thenthey can go as I won't put up with performances like that. There are 16 games left and a lot of hard work to be done. It is a massive run-in for us."
Stanley fluffed their penalties in an exciting finale against the Conference North outfit in what was an otherwise poor match spoilt by the wind and rain on Tuesday.
Ian Craney and Danny Ventre had their spot kicks saved after the 1-1 draw in extra time at Sandy Lane.
"We should be miles better than them and we should have taken more of our chances on Saturday," continued the boss. "If the conditions had been better on Tuesday, it might have been a different story. But we have got to be able to cope with things like that and team tactics when teams shut up shop against us.
"The penalties were disappointing as the players practise enough. They are confident enough in training. You only have to look at Danny Ventre. In training, he is one of the best penalty takers and then it was a disappointing one at Worksop.
"Winning is a habit and I am not happy that we have now got out of it."
But Stanley are still unbeaten in 12 league games and will be hoping they can do the double over Dagenham tomorrow (Sat) after a 2-1 win earlier in the season.
John Still's side, however, have a 100 per cent record at the Interlink as they have won their two previous Conference games at Stanley.
"We need to end that sequence tomorrow," said Coleman.
"But they are a strong team and I think have won five out of their last six games in all competitions and it is going to be a difficult game.
"Chris Moore is a strong player for them and they are a strong side. As I have always said, if we play to our best we are a match for anyone but if we turn in another Worksop performance, we will have problems."
Coleman did have to juggle his backline for the Worksop match with injuries and he might have to do it again. Leam Richardson is still struggling with a hamstring injury while Michael Welch was substituted on Tuesday with a knee problem and the manager was going to assess the extent of the injury.
Midfielder Steve Jagielka was set to undergo a minor operation on his knee today and, once he has had the surgery, he should only need a couple of weeks recovery.
It is a testing 10 days for the Reds as, after Dagenham, they face Gravesend away next Friday and Morecambe at home on Monday live on Sky. And sandwiched in between this is a Lancashire Cup quarter-final clash at UniBond Premier side Burscough next Tuesday.
The number of games next week could mean both Ian Craney and Gary Roberts will be pulled out of the England National XI squad who are set to play at Cambridge next Wednesday in a European Challenge Trophy clash.
Coleman had phoned the England set-up to see what the situation is and was waiting to hear as the Observer went to press.
"I do not know whether I will have a choice," said the manager.
Meanwhile Roberts has been following up his chances of playing for Wales.
The winger has a Welsh grandmother and Welsh Under 21 manager Brian Flynn was at the Interlink on Saturday running the rule over the tricky wideman.
"He is someone we would consider as he has a lot of ability," said Flynn. "What we need first is him to prove that he has Welsh relations and once that happens we will take it from there."
Meanwhile Coleman gave a resounding no to rumours he has signed former Morecambe star Adriano Rigoglioso, who has just been released from Doncaster Rovers.
- STANLEY'S Interlink Express Stadium has been approved by the League football inspectors who had a tour round the ground on Monday.
The club need to make just a few minor adjustments - providing a police control room, a spectator first aid room and more turnstiles .
The Reds have long-term plans for the development of the ground which includes a seated stand on the Whinney Hill terrace and covers on both ends of the ground.
- FORMER Stanley defender Jonathan Smith has signed for Radcliffe Borough while Paul Howarth has joined Bradford Park Avenue.
Smith suffered an injury before Christmas at Barrow, the club he joined from Stanley, and hasn't been playing much. He has gone to the UniBond Premier strugglers for a month to get match fitness and scored in their 3-2 loss to Leek on Saturday
"I just want to get some games under my belt and help Radcliffe get some points on the board," said Smith.