RECORD signing Ian Craney insists manager John Coleman should not carry the can for Stanley’s disappointing season.
The Reds secured their League Two status on Saturday with two games to go but they have stuttered over the line with six defeats in their last seven games.
But Craney says everyone shares the disappointment for the campaign where the Reds aimed to be challenging at the top end of the league.
"A lot of the blame will be put on the manager but, at the end of the day, we - the players - haven’t performed," said the 25-year-old. "That’s the reason we are in this situation.
"The manager will probably get a lot of the blame from the fans but we are the ones who go on the pitch and do the job for the manager.
"We don’t know why it has got so wrong and all the players say the same as we have talked about it.
"Perhaps it is a confidence thing. Usually in a season, you go on a little run but we haven’t even managed that. It is just bizarre."
Craney re-signed for the Reds from Swansea in January for £75,000 following a loan spell at the FES with Stanley beating off competition from League Two promoted side Peterborough.
"When I signed permanently for the club, I think we were in 11th place and six points off the play-offs," said Craney. "When I came back, I said the squad here this season was better than the one when I left last season and I still believe that.
"That is what is so frustrating. For me, the game that killed us was Chester at home in early January.
"We were winning 3-2 and had had a couple of good results before that but then we conceded a late goal and I think it has all gone wrong since then.
"That’s when the heads seemed to go down and we went on a bad run of four defeats. It just seemed to knock the stuffing out of people, we lost some morale and we dipped after that."
Craney says the whole squad - himself included - is responsible for the Reds being involved in another relegation battle.
He has got seven goals this season - and it’s eight with the Morecambe own goal which he claims - but he knows he should have chipped in with more.
"I am disappointed with my own outlook. I should have scored at least 15 goals this season - that’s what I expect. I have missed two months while I was at Swansea and with injury here but I should have got more goals. All I can do is take the positives out of this season and take them into the next."
The ex-Altrincham man has been playing up front and in midfield and he is hoping Coleman signs a striker to partner Paul Mullin then he can concentrate on his favoured role. "My best position is centre midfield but I have been asked to do different jobs by the manager and obviously you do it.
"I think we have missed an out and out goalscorer this season though. We have really missed Roscoe Dsane," said Craney, with eight-goal striker Dsane sold to Torquay in January.
"I enjoyed playing with him, he and Mullers were striking up a good partnership and he was never really replaced.
"So we need to bring in a goalscorer next season and perhaps three or four top players because nothing less than the play-offs will do.
"We want it, the manager wants it and the fans want it and that’s what we should be geared to.
"I expect the manager to make wholesale changes in the summer because of this. We have made silly defensive errors - and that is the whole team - and given away stupid goals.
"And when you look at teams like Hereford, who came up with us and could now go up automatically this season, it is so frustrating.
"But I am keen to stay positive and there have been some good things this season.
"One of them is the form of Phil Edwards, who has been outstanding at the back since I came back.
"I know it has been said before, but we need to win the last two games.
"If we don’t, we have a summer of doom and gloom and we want to go into the summer with a positive feeling."
The penultimate match is a clash at relegated Wrexham tomorrow, where boss Brian Little has been using his younger players.
Stanley go there still needing two points to pass the 50 point total from last season and Coleman may also look to youth with Bobby Grant and Andrew Smith both given chances in the first team.