STANLEY captain Peter Cavanagh is hoping tomorrow won’t be his last game for the Reds as he looks to spoil Brentford’s party.
In his exclusive column in the Observer, Cavanagh has confirmed that he will plead not guilty to the Football Association’s charge of breaching their betting rules.
The skipper, who has been at the club eight years, has been accused of placing a £5 accumulator bet on the final game of last season on a Bury win against the Reds and also faces another charge of betting on another Stanley match.
Reds’ defender Robbie Williams is accused of betting around £1,000 on a Shakers victory along with ex-Reds Jay Harris, David Mannix and Andy Mangan, who was then playing for Bury.
Their case before the FA will be heard next Thursday where they could face a fine, a warning or a ban if found guilty with the club also holding an internal inquiry. Chairman Eric Whalley has said both will be sacked if found guilty.
Cavanagh and Williams have carried on playing for Stanley in the meantime - with a win at Grimsby and a loss to Chester - while the other three have been in the squads for their new clubs.
"I can’t say too much about the charges levelled against me but I can confirm that I will plead not guilty," said the captain.
"My conscience is clear and I will fight my case to clear my name against these charges. I want to reassure fans that, as club captain, I always have and always will give my best in any match and will continue to do so for as long as the club and the fans want me to."
The Reds are now safe in League Two after their victory over Grimsby on Saturday but they will want to stop the Bees winning promotion back to League One tomorrow.
Andy Scott’s side will go up automatically if they beat Stanley and other results go their way.
"We owe Brentford one," continued 27-year-old Cavanagh, with the Reds having three games left. "In the home game against them, we thoroughly deserved the 1-0 win and then to have it snatched from us at the death and only get a draw was pretty galling.
"It is something we are looking to put right and I think it is the type of atmosphere we enjoy and we want to spoil their party.
"It’s never nice watching another side do something you want to and hear them celebrating in the dressing room but I suppose if they have worked hard for it, which they have, you can’t begrudge them the opportunity."
Brentford have been a surprise package this season and top the table by four points from Exeter. They have lost just six league games all season.
"Brentford have had a big squad and they have lost a few key players like Charlie MacDonald over the season, but have got decent players in to replace them," said Cavanagh.
"For us, on our budget, we don’t have that luxury and, when we had a run of injuries, we have had to play players out of position.
"I do think we have done remarkably well to stay up for our budget and a club of our size.
"Brentford, meanwhile, have had a consistent season and have been streets ahead of everyone in the league by producing results week in, week out."
Stanley will have to keep their eyes on Bees loan striker Billy Clarke who scored twice against the Reds for then loan club Darlington. Cavanagh added: "He is rated highly but if Phil Edwards keeps playing the way he has then I am sure he will keep him quiet."
Striker Michael Symes, on loan from Shrewsbury, could play his last game for the Reds tomorrow as his four-week spell is up on Sunday.
Meanwhile, manager John Coleman knows his side have been hit and miss this season but is relieved to finally seal another league campaign for Stanley.
"It is a weight off my shoulders but we have got to be more consistent.
"Knowing us, we lose to Chester and go and beat Brentford tomorrow - that’s the way our season has gone."
Long term injuries Leam Richardson (pelvis), Chris King (thigh), Peter Murphy (knee) and Ian Dunbavin (groin) remain sidelined although the first three are back running and training.
THE reserves played Burnley last night and face Manchester City at the FES on Monday at 2pm.
Click on the 'Related link' on the right to read Peter Cavanagh's column in full