Captain Luke Joyce has challenged the returning Reds to make the most of their opportunity and fire Stanley to their first league win of the season.
After scoring his second goal in five games in last Saturday’s 1-1 draw at AFC Wimbledon, Kayode Odejayi (right) was then shown a straight red card for violent conduct.
Although Stanley appealed, an FA panel upheld the decision so Odejayi is now suspended for three matches – home games against Oxford (tomorrow) and Bristol Rovers (Tuesday), as well as next Saturday’s trip to Morecambe.
However, there is plenty of competition to replace the on-loan striker as Marcus Carver and Danny Webber were back on the bench at Wimbledon.
James Gray and Shay McCartan are also in contention again having been away on Under-21 international duty last Saturday.
And Joyce hopes that, whoever returns to the starting line-up, they come back with a bang as the Reds play two home games in the space of four days.
“Kay’s settled in really well,” said the Stanley skipper. “He’s scored a couple of goals and he’s doing a great job for us up front.
“After a positive performance last Saturday it was a big blow to lose him. We don’t really have a similar player to Kay.
“He’s a big lad; he’s strong, he’s quick. He can hold the ball up for us and relieve pressure.
“But we’ve got the likes of Marcus Carver, James Gray and Shay McCartan available again, and Danny Webber’s coming back.”
Carver has returned from a loan spell at AFC Halifax while Webber has just recovered from a hamstring injury.
After serving a three-match ban of his own, Webber had just two games back before hobbling off at Chesterfield on September 7.
“Danny’s desperate to get back in the team and get some goals,” said midfielder Joyce?(main picture). “He’s been training since the middle of last week now and he’s looked good, he’s looked really sharp.
“We had a bit of a game between ourselves on Tuesday and he looked good in that, so it’s not all doom and gloom. Although Kay is suspended, it gives the other lads a chance to stake their claim.
“Sometimes that’s what football’s about. One person’s disappointment can be another’s opportunity, so hopefully someone can take their chance and score a few goals.”
Centre-half Rob Atkinson has joined Odejayi on the sidelines after suffering a hamstring injury at Wimbledon, although there was a like-for-like replacement in Dean Winnard, who has been in and out of action with some niggling injury concerns this season.
“Dean came on and did really well,” Joyce added. “Dean loves that type of game, when they’re lobbing balls into the box. He loves heading it, he just loves defending!
“It was good for him to get back in and get some minutes under his belt.
“If Rob’s out for a bit then it gives Dean a chance to get himself back in the team. It’s similar to the situation with Kay really, it gives somebody else a chance to come in and stake their claim.”
Keeper Ian Dunbavin was the fourth man to return to the Reds’ matchday squad at Wimbledon, although Luke Clark remains doubtful.
Michael Liddle (ankle) and Laurence Wilson (groin) are still short of full fitness.
Oxford are third, having dropped just two points from five away games and the U’s beat Stanley three times last season, including an FA Cup second-round replay.
However, Tuesday night’s visitors Bristol Rovers are 20th, having gone seven without a win before they host Wycombe on Saturday.
Stanley had a good record against the Pirates last season, winning 1-0 at home and away.
“After every game I say I believe in the lads,” said manager James Beattie. “People keep saying ‘why does he keep being so positive about the team?’ But we don’t look like a team that’s bottom of the league. I’ve seen teams that have been bottom of the league before and the players don’t carry themselves like that.
“They don’t walk around with their heads down; they walk around with their chests out, wearing the club crest, and they did the club proud on Saturday.
“If we show that commitment and desire we won’t be at the bottom much longer.”
FORMER Stanley manager John Coleman has expressed an interest in the Bury job after they sacked Kevin Blackwell on Monday.
The Shakers are just a point above the bottom two after a run of seven without a win.
Coleman has been out of management since being sacked by Rochdale in January and recently attended Stanley’s defeat by Dagenham, along with former assistant Jimmy Bell, who’s now working at Port Vale’s youth academy.