John Coleman previews Accrington Stanley vs Rochdale

John Coleman speaks to The Gazette.

John Coleman isn’t concerned about Rochdale being a ‘bogey team’ as his Accrington Stanley side prepare to take on Rochdale in an all North West clash at the Wham Stadium tomorrow.

It will be the 18th time the two sides have met in the league.

Stanley have been victors in just three of them whereas Rochdale have 13 wins and there has only been one draw between the clubs.

The last time they met was New Year’s Day this year as Dale ran out 2-1 winners on a cold day in Lancashire.

Both sides will have the wind in their sails coming into this one due to them both picking up an important three points on Saturday.

Coleman’s men won 2-1 as they played A.F.C Wimbledon at Loftus Road and Rochdale grabbed a last-minute winner at home to Fleetwood Town thanks to Fabio Tavares.

Stanley are starting to establish themselves as an accredited League One side after starting their third season in the division, following their Sky Bet League Two title-winning season back in 2018.

That was a massive achievement for a club that at times have wondered whether they would have the finances to keep them a float over the years.

The home side will still be without front man Dion Charles; he will be serving the second game of his three-match ban after a straight red card in the defeat to Oxford 2 weeks ago.

There are no new injury concerns for Accrington.

Dale have a fully fit squad coming into this one and will be boosted by the signing of highly-rated youngster Tolaja Bola.

The 21-year-old left back joined from Arsenal on a season-long loan and will be eligible for the game tomorrow.

Ryan Cassidy will be someone the visitors will have to keep a close eye on.

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The striker who joined Stanley in the summer from Watford on a season-long loan deal has been directly involved with two goals in two games and has the capacity to run Rochdale ragged on his day.

One for the Reds to keep tabs on will be Rochdale midfielder Matthew Lund.

He has a goal and a assist so far this season and is very capable of pulling the strings in the middle of the park to feed other danger men such as Fabio Tavares, who can be a real handful at times.

Reds backroom staff John Coleman and Jimmy Bell will be looking to get one up on their former employers and, although there will not be fans there, you can always count on this one to be a feisty affair.

Speaking to The Gazette, Coleman said he understands that his team will have to adapt to a different style of play than the one they faced against Wimbledon last Saturday.

He said: “It is teams mixing up the way they play so there’s no team where you know how they’ll play.

“You’ve got to have different approaches to the game, I have watched them play many times this season and they can be impressive, but we can also be impressive.

“They’ve got good players, good work ethic, a smashing manager and I’m looking forward to having a drink with him after the game.”

Coleman reflected on his time at Rochdale when he left Stanley to join them in 2012: “I don’t think it went bad at all, I just think it was part of my learning curve as a manager and I moved on and wish them all the best.”

Stanley are still without key man Sean McConville, who ruptured his Achilles the last time the two teams met back in January and his manager believes he’s not too far away from a return.

“Sean is looking really good in training so it’s only a matter of time,” Coleman added.

When asked about his side’s current form from the first four games, two wins and two losses, Coleman explained: “I’d take 23 wins and 23 losses, we just want to get better and I think if we play better we will get better.”

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The Reds sit in 9th, just two points in front of Rochdale who are in 17th.

Both sides are looking to maintain the momentum they have picked up from their victories on Saturday.