Coronavirus causes major concern for Coleman in transfer market

Credit: James, Alex | Lancashire Telegraph

Accrington Stanley manager John Coleman has expressed his concerns about recruiting players for next season amid the on-going situation with the Coronavirus.

Stanley’s season, along with other football clubs not only in the UK but worldwide, has been cut short by COVID-19 with the Reds’ last outing coming on March 7 at home to Tranmere Rovers.

Most famously known for starring in a Milk advert in the 1980’s, Stanley are very open with the fact that their budget is one of the smallest in League One and manager John Coleman has to be astute with his signings each year to ensure the club are competitive.

Speaking to journalism students, Coleman said: “Contracts are a grave concern in the current situation.

“To me, extending players’ contracts and playing the league beyond June 30 is an impossibility.

“Thousands of players in the Football League are out of contract on June 30. It just makes it very difficult to prepare for next year.”

Coleman’s long-term assistant Jimmy Bell also joined students in the session, and backed up the thoughts of his colleague regarding recruitment.

Bell said: “The transfer market is a bit like a playground game of football.

“Because the bigger teams in our league get the first pick of players, we always get the last pick.

“Normally that last pick begins towards the end of a season when everyone else has already targeted their players for the following one.

“Now, if we’ve only got a few weeks to sign players and get them to play the way that we want them to play, it’s a major concern.”

Stanley have been playing in League One for the previous two seasons, something which Coleman and Bell described as a ‘dream’ for both them and the club.

Jimmy Bell and John Coleman face questions from UCLan Sports Journalists in good humour during a previous Q&A. Credit: Oscar Norman

This statement may be ridiculed by some but when it is considered just how far the pair have managed to bring the Reds, it cannot be argued with.

Having entered the Crown Ground – as it was then known – back in 1999, Coleman and Bell have overseen four promotions across their two spells at the club.

Taking the club from the third level of non-league football to just two promotions away from the glory land of the Premier League is an achievement which has not been lost on either of the two.

However, 57-year-old Coleman has admitted that they’re not done just yet.

He said: “When you wake up on a Saturday and you don’t have that tingle in your stomach, it’s time to call it a day but I honestly don’t think I’ll ever get to that.

Jordan Clark in action for Stanley. Photo credit Accrington Stanley

“The thrill of being involved in professional football will never leave either of us.

“I’m not going to stop until we get to Wembley!”

Stanley unfortunately hold the record of being one of only two football league clubs to have never played on the hallowed turf of either the old or new Wembley. Alongside them sit only Crawley Town.

But, who would bet against Coleman removing that record from Stanley’s books?

To do that, he will have to manage Stanley for at least another season, but when that starts is yet to be confirmed by the Football League.

However, it has emerged that the EFL are expecting the remainder of the current season to resume so Coleman and Bell will have to see out their remaining nine league fixtures this term before any hopes of Wembley and beyond can be thought of.