JAMES Beattie believes the next seven days could be the ‘defining moment of the season’ for Accrington Stanley.
Stanley sit 20th in League Two after squandering a 2-0 lead to lose at home to Scunthorpe on Friday, but they now face three other sides in the mix at the bottom of the table within the space of a week.
Bury are the visitors to the Store First Stadium tonight for a match called off shortly before kick-off three weeks ago, before Stanley travel to Torquay on Saturday and then make the trip to Fratton Park to face Portsmouth three days later.
“I’ve said to the boys I’ve earmarked this week as a defining moment in our season,” Beattie said.
“We play Bury, Torquay and Portsmouth within seven days.
“The first job is to try to overcome Bury, we can’t look too far ahead, but I’ve put the seed in the lads’ minds that this is a massive week for us.
“They need to be on point mentally and physically. If we’re at it and we’re there mentally, I’ve got no doubts about the results.”
David Flitcroft’s Bury, who have seen their last three games postponed, are expected to include former Stanley skipper Andy Procter in their squad as well as ex-Burnley keeper Brian Jensen and on-loan Blackburn Rovers forward Anton Forrester.
Accrington are expected to again be without the injured Kal Naismith and will be eager to secure only a fourth home win of the season.
As well as the Bury game, the Reds saw their recent clash with Morecambe abandoned and could not convert a lead into victory in their last three games at the Store First Stadium.
Beattie, though, does not put it down to bad luck.
“I think you make your own luck, luck is where chance meets opportunity,” he said.
“We weren’t unlucky the other night not to beat Scunthorpe, in the second half we didn’t do the things we did in the first half and that’s the reason we lost.
“With our away form being as good as it is, results at home are a little bit of a concern.
“But nobody’s panicking, maybe we try to approach these home games as away games and we might start picking up some points!
“The lads are raring to go and put Friday night’s defeat right. It’s an ideal opportunity to do that.”
On Friday Lee Molyneux netted his first goal since his return to Stanley on loan from Crewe, and Beattie hopes to extend the deal when it expires after the weekend.
“I’ve spoken to Lee and he wants to stay,” said the manager.
“He’s not played as much as football as he would have wanted over the last few months but his qualities are undeniable. It’s something we’ll be looking to do.”
On the prospect of any further loan signings, Beattie added: “We’re always looking.
“But I think if we’re going to do anything - and that’s probably a long conversation with the chairman - first and foremost we have to pick out somebody and they have to be somebody now who is going to go into the team, make a massive difference and make us better.
“I think that’s only fair to the boys.”