WHAT a difference two weeks can make. Just a short while ago, Stanley were battling for their survival, facing a winding up order and the future, if there was one, looked bleak.

Now, though, a multi-millionaire is at the helm of the club in Ilyas Khan, they are in the second round of the FA¿Cup for the first time since 2003 and are three games from Wembley in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

And manager John Coleman thinks he has got the best team he has had at the Crown Ground since their return to the Football League in 2006 and wants them to push on from their 14th place in League Two.

They face promotion hopefuls Dagenham tomorrow with Coleman believing things can get even better for the Reds.

"I said at the start of the season that I think we have the best squad quality-wise since we have come into the Football League and I have not wavered from that and we have lost Paul Mullin since then," said the Reds boss.

"We have a great work ethic in the side and a great deal of belief and belief is something you can’t buy. It is something that develops.

"I have never known confidence to be as high at the club when we were in the Football League.

"Certainly it was in the Conference when we had crazy characters who thought they were Maradona in Ian Craney and Gary Roberts but we are confident at the moment and it’s not a cocky confidence it is a collective belief.

"We have been banging the drum for the players to have higher expectations, to not run themselves down and believe in themselves and not settle for second best - and they are."

Stanley are unbeaten in six out of the last seven games at home and, even with a transfer embargo and a threadbare squad, they have the winning formula.

Front pairing Bobby Grant and Michael Symes have 17 goals between them and Coleman is thrilled with their contribution.

Symes, with eight goals, in on target to beat his best for the season in 13 in 2006/7 while Grant is producing form which is said to be causing clubs like Derby County to be keeping tabs on him.

"They enjoy playing with each other and once you develop a partnership things just seem to blossom," said Coleman. "You go out believing you are going to score and it’s amazing the amount of times things fall for you.

"We are carrying a big attacking threat, something we have perhaps been missing at times in the past and we always look like we can score goals.

"We have changed our approach a bit at home and it has paid off.

"Now we have got to keep a winning mentality, we have got to go on a run and keep momentum and that can take clubs a long way.

"If you get momentum in March or April you can quickly find yourselves in the play-offs and that’s what we are aiming to do.

"If we are going to climb the table we have got to win our home games and that starts tomorrow against Dagenham."

Coleman has been impressed with the way his side have kept going while the club were under threat of a winding up order - but he now wants more.

"To be fair, not a lot has changed on the pitch. The team has been the same and done well. What we need to do now is get more points on the board.

"This season I think it will be a real scrap down at the bottom of the league and it could be between as many as 12 teams.

"We want to be threatening the other way so we want to make sure we continue our current form."

With Accrington on the attack and the Daggers free goal-scorers it was a surprise both games last season ended goalless.

"I can’t see that happening this season," continued Coleman. "I think both teams will get goals. I know Dagenham got beat 6-1 by Huddersfield in the FA¿Cup but, by all accounts that flattered Huddersfield and you might as well lose 6-1 as 1-0 in the cup. It won’t affect them."

Stanley are still under a transfer embargo and have a small squad with wideman Chris Turner having a scan today, hoping he has avoided ligament damage. They have also been lucky to avoid suspensions so far but Luke Joyce and Darran Kempson both have four bookings while Grant and Symes are on three each.

"They are wiped out on December 31 so we just have to hope we can avoid picking up many more," added Coleman.

"I should know more by Monday about whether the transfer embargo will be lifted as we need a goalkeeper and defensive cover as we only have Peter Murphy at the moment."

New chairman Ilyas Khan has been in talks with the Reds boss but Coleman is waiting to see what is available to him. "I have had a chat with Ilyas and probably will again soon but until he knows the extent of things at the club, there will be no decisions or promises."

STANLEY face Barnet at home in the second round of the FA Cup on Saturday November 28.

The Bees are going well in League Two but, with £27,000 prize money up for grabs, it’s a big game for both sides.

John Coleman said: "I think it perhaps is better to play a side from your own league as it takes the pressure off the players a little bit. When you have to avoid a banana skin it adds to the pressure but both sides will fancy their chances. I am just glad we got a home draw."

* STANLEY face Bury in the Lancashire Cup round one next Wednesday at home, ko 7pm.