IT'S D-Day for Accrington Stanley as they face the Football League charge of fielding two ineligible players this morning (Fri).
Chairman Eric Whalley, manager John Coleman and secretary Hannah Bailey will go before the Independent Disciplinary Committee in Preston at 11am, with their solicitors, hoping they will just get a warning.
The Football League give their case, Stanley give theirs and then the Committee make the decision.
Anything from a telling off to expulsion from the League is a possible punishment but a Football League spokesperson said, if Stanley are found guilty, a fine or a points deduction is the most likely outcome.
The Reds are charged with fielding ineligible players in three matches - Preston work experience striker Chris McGrail in two games and young keeper Martin Fearon in another - and these were games where Stanley earned seven points.
Any punishment would seem harsh as chairman Eric Whalley describes them as just "minor technicalities" and McGrail only played 48 minutes - he came on as a substitute in both games - and Fearon never came off the bench against Wrexham.
It would be devastating as the Reds, battling for League Two survival with seven games remaining and with wins in their last two matches, would drop into the relegation places if they do lose the points from those games.
But Coleman is hopeful that they won't be too harshly punished.
"I am confident as we haven't tried to deceive anybody, or played a player who wouldn't have been allowed to play. We are very confident that justice will win out," he said.
"To be honest though I am just concentrating on the football. The hearing is something that the chairman is probably more nervous and worried about but I am just focussing on winning football matches. Whatever happens it won't change what we do in training or in the game tomorrow. I will be glad when it is over - but I will glad when this season is over!"
The players admit they are just waiting on the verdict like everyone else.
Captain Peter Cavanagh said: "There is nothing we can do except wait. We have though, got to make sure that we get enough points on the pitch to make sure we stay up whatever happens."
Even if the worst does happen and Stanley are deducted seven points, the Reds can appeal to the Football Association as AFC Wimbledon did this week. They were docked 18 points by the Ryman League for fielding an ineligible player which, on appeal, has been changed to a three point loss.
Stanley would appeal immediately if found guilty and that appeal would take place in the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, the Reds players will hope any decision doesn't knock their new-found confidence for tomorrow's huge game at automatic promotion contenders Walsall.
Coleman does have some decisions to make with Jay Harris, David Brown and Leam Richardson all suspended although defender Phil Edwards is back following a two-match ban.
"The suspensions are a blow but you do just have to get on with it," said the Reds chief.
Coleman knows, though, his troops go there on a high after their first back-to-back league wins since September following the 1-0 win over Torquay and 2-0 victory over Hereford
"We go there full of confidence," said the Reds chief. "A lot was made of the comment I made after the Walsall game earlier in the season (Walsall won 2-1) when I said I believed we should be beating Walsall at home.
"But I genuinely believe we can beat them and we will be going to the Bescot Stadium to try and win the game - we won't be going there for a draw. They are a good side but we go there with our confidence at its highest, it is at its peak, and we need to cash in on that."
Meanwhile, Coleman has been heaping the praise on teenage defender Godwin Antwi, who originally signed on a month's loan from Liverpool but that has been extended - and he has played a big part in two clean sheets.
"He is a magnificent player at this level and we have got him until the end of the season which is a bonus," said the Reds boss.
"He can only go from strength to strength and is certainly a crowd favourite already.
"He has been training with Liverpool this week as they want another look at him as he is a very good player."
Coleman also has keeper David Martin from Anfield but goalie Ian Dunbavin came through 90 minutes as Stanley's reserves lost 2-1 to Manchester City in the Pontins League on Wednesday. Danny Ventre scored from the penalty spot and there was a welcome return to action for striker Leighton McGivern, who is recovering from a broken ankle, and he played around 30 minutes of the clash in his comeback.
Meanwhile, Reds winger Sean Doherty has spent this week on trial with Championship side Ipswich Town.
"He has had limited chances here as I think he has found the league a little bit too physical for him. He is a good footballer though and we will see what happens," said the Stanley boss.
Elsewhere, Coleman has said he will have talks with Alan Rogers again in the summer as the defender is taking care of some business interests and has taken a break from football.
Defender Andy Tretton is due to see a specialist this week with his career on the line due to his on-going knee problems.
And Tony Grant, suffering from an Achilles injury, also took a knock on his knee and didn't play in the reserve game on Wednesday.
l STANLEY'S reserves are next in action at home on Wednesday 11 April (ko 7pm) against Rochdale.