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Rested Accrington Stanley prepare for a fresh challenge
ACCRINGTON Stanley boss Leam Richardson believes James Beattie and captain Luke Joyce will benefit from being rested in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Northampton – as the Reds look to climb back out of the relegation zone this week.
Stanley dropped into the bottom two for a second time after the weekend loss at Sixfields, with AFC Wimbledon winning to climb out of the drop zone.
The Reds now face three crucial home games in the space of eight days – hosting Fleetwood tomorrow before taking on relegation rivals Barnet and AFC Wimbledon at the Store First Stadium.
Richardson opted to leave Joyce, an ever present this season, on the bench on Saturday and rested Beattie, 35, from the squad altogether.
“Luke has played every minute of every game all season and he’s been fantastic for us,” Richardson said.
“It wasn’t a case of leaving him out, it was a case of giving someone else a game with fresh legs.
“The same with James as well because we’ve got a lot of games this month and we’ve got to be intelligent with what we do, not rotate but get your best team at the time out there.”
Stanley, who sit a point behind third bottom Torquay, welcomed Craig Lindfield back from an ankle injury at Northampton.
Former England international Francis Jeffers made his Stanley debut from the bench after joining the Reds on a deal until the end of the season on Friday.
But Stanley were 2-0 down by then after Chris Hackett’s early free kick and a controversial second goal.
Paul Rachubka’s kick out of his hands rebounded off the back of striker Roy O’Donovan, who then shoulder charged the keeper to the ground and put the ball into the empty net.
“In the first half there was nothing in the game bar the goals.,” added Richardson. “We gave them the goals ourselves, although the second one has to be questionable with the officials.
“It was either a massive mistake from our keeper or from the ref, I’ll have to watch it again.
“The centre forward is stood in front of the keeper and preventing him from taking a kick, it’s come off his back, he’s let it play on and he’s gone on and scored.
“In the second half we did the same and he blew up for a free kick.
“I’ve no problem if you make the decision but then stick to that decision and then everyone can do it. You can’t have one rule for one and one rule for another.
“In the second half I thought we took the game to them. I’m proud of the second half but overall it does feel like it’s a game that has got away from us a little bit.”