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Second bite at Cherries

ANOTHER television appearance, more national headlines and things just seem to be getting better and better for Accrington Stanley.

GOAL HERO . . . Paul Mullin and team-mates celebrate at Bournemouth
GOAL HERO . . . Paul Mullin and team-mates celebrate at Bournemouth

ANOTHER television appearance, more national headlines and things just seem to be getting better and better for Accrington Stanley.

After holding Second Division Bournemouth to a 1-1 draw on Saturday in the FA Cup, the scene is set for the replay at the Interlink Express Stadium live on Sky on Monday night with the Reds gaining £50,000 for their third television slot of the season (ko 7.45pm). And although Colchester may not be the dream tie in the third round, the Stanley players are positive that they can continue to cause upsets in the cup.

Midfielder Andy Procter admitted: "My friends aren't happy it is a replay as they have to pay another £15 out and they are all students! But we are at home and hopefully it will be a good night for us. It was brilliant at Bournemouth. I couldn't believe it when Paul Mullin scored - I just wish it had been the 90th minute instead of the ninth!

"It was a bit stretched after the break because of fitness but only then could you tell who the league side were. I have never played in front of 7,000 people before but I only really realised how many people were there when they scored. The sound was deafening. The whole day was brilliant."

Steve Halford, who is suspended for Saturday's Conference clash at home to Aldershot, admitted there was a mixed reaction to the draw as the players were travelling back on Sunday.

"We were all waiting for Man United and Liverpool but as the draw carried on, and they had gone, we had no idea who was left in it. We were all having bets among ourselves but when it was Colchester there was a big groan. But we aren't there yet and we have to beat Bournemouth."

Boss John Coleman has said he won't think about the Cherries replay until Monday - as he is concentrating on the clash with fellow play-off chasers Aldershot on Saturday.

"The cup run has been fantastic for the club but if someone said at this stage of the season, you can make the FA Cup third round or make the play-offs, I know what I would take every time.

"The main thing now is Aldershot as, when the FA Cup is over, there will be a long hard season left and we have got to make sure we have picked up as many points as we can. We have got to make sure that we have everything to play for after Christmas. I am not giving the Bournemouth game a second thought. That will sort itself out."

Meanwhile Coleman has put a defender at the top of his Christmas shopping list. He was interested in striker Mark Beesley early in the season but, even though he was released from Chester this week, a centre back is what is wanted.

"We have Hacker suspended tomorrow and Jonathan Smith faces a late fitness test on his knee after coming off against Bournemouth. And Steve Hollis is out with a broken wrist for another week. That leaves us short at the back again and we do need some cover. I want to strengthen the squad then we can make sure we stay in contention."

Aldershot defeated Stanley in the Conference opener - but Coleman thinks his side will come out on top on Saturday.

"I think we are a better side than when we played Aldershot at the start of the season - mentally and physically. We are a lot more organised and less gung-ho. We are getting stronger as the season goes on. We just need fine tuning and one or two signings and then I think we can be in the top five or six."

And rumours of league clubs said to be interested in some of the Stanley players are wide of the mark.

"I haven't heard anything," added Coleman.


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