Sean McConville has won his battle to be fit for Stanley’s double away-day test – but Ray Putterill remains in limbo.
Midfielder McConville, 21, returned to training on Tuesday after suffering a foot injury in the 3-0 win over Lincoln a week ago.
He had to have three stitches in the injury, which forced him off early in the second half, but boss John Coleman is certain he will be ready for the trips to Port Vale tomorrow and Stockport on Tuesday.
Coleman, though, is less clear on when he will be able to field Putterill again. As the Observer went to press, Stanley were waiting for the FA to respond to their appeal against Putterill’s 42-day ban.
The Liverpool County FA imposed the ban, effective from August 30, on the Stanley midfielder for improper or insulting behaviour towards a referee while he was playing for local league side Halewood Town last season. Putterill then played and scored for Stanley in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy win over Tranmere on August 31, but both club and player have argued they did not know about the ban.
On top of the 42 days, there is a further seven-day suspension relating to the same offence, which would put Putterill out of action until October 10.
Stanley have argued that the 21-year-old should have been allowed to appeal against the ban, but was not given the chance. Coleman said: "We are still waiting to hear from the FA. In the meantime, there’s not a lot we can do, so there’s no point worrying."
Despite the Putterill issue, Stanley managed to stretch their unbeaten League Two start to seven games with victory over Lincoln.
Striker Terry Gornell underlined his potential with his first two goals for Stanley following his move from Tranmere late last month.
And Coleman has no doubts that the 20-year-old will flourish at the Crown Ground.
"I know Terry will score goals for us," said the Stanley boss. "His movement was good for the first against Lincoln, and he took his second well. I’m sure he will get into double figures for us this season comfortably. He’s a good footballer and his movement’s good."
Gornell has vowed to make up for lost time after opening his goalscoring account. He credited his recent permanent return to the Crown Ground from former club Tranmere for getting him up and running.
"It’s great to be back at Stanley," he said. "It’s just a unique team spirit here that I don’t think you’ll get anywhere else.
"For me the best thing is the gaffer and Jimmy, two ex-centre forwards. They’re on my case all the time, don’t get me wrong. I think they’re on my case more than anyone, but that’s what I want and it’s the only way I’m going to learn."
Coleman is reasonably happy with Stanley’s start to the season, but still believes there is room for improvement.
They head for Vale Park tomorrow lying sixth in League Two with 11 points from seven games.
"It’s an acceptable start," Coleman said. "I would like to have more points on the board. But sometimes, you take what you can out of a game. There have been matches this season that we’ve drawn when we might have been beaten, and I was pleased to get a win at home against Lincoln."
Stanley go to second-placed Vale with the best defensive record in League Two, having conceded just one goal at home and drawn all their away games 0-0. But Coleman insists the credit for such an impressive record must be shared throughout the team.
"We don’t look at the team as separate units," he said. "The defensive record is not just about the goalkeeper and the back line, it’s the responsibility of all 11 players.
"I’m happy with the football we’re playing, though I would like us to score some more goals.
"Having said that, we have assembled half a new team, and it takes time for everyone to bed in."
Tomorrow’s opponents Port Vale have risen to second in League Two on the back of the 11-goal strike partnership of Marc Richards and Justin Richards – not related but both talented frontmen.
"We’ve had Port Vale watched, and we will be formulating a plan to stop them," Coleman said.
"We’ve faced Marc Richards and Justin Richards a number of times in the past, so they’re nothing new to us.
"It will be a difficult game, but we expect that against anyone in League Two. It’s a division where anybody can beat anybody."