Stanley target top half and progress

James Beattie's Accrington are at Dagenham

James Beattie's Accrington are at Dagenham

First published in Football Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Burnley FC reporter

ACCRINGTON Stanley want their season to be about more than just survival, says assistant manager Paul Stephenson.

With the Reds still only six points clear of the relegation zone it is a matter of safety first.

But a hectic March has been so far productive, with eight points picked up from six games moving them six points clear of the relegation zone in 16th.

Stanley close the month out with two long away trips, starting tonight at Dagenham and Redbridge, then on to a so-called ‘six pointer’ Exeter City on Saturday.

After recording their biggest win of the season, 5-1 over Morecambe last Tuesday, Stanley dug in to earn a point at home to play-off chasing Plymouth.

And Stephenson says the players are determined to continue the good work and keep climbing the ladder.

“That’s the challenge,” he said.

“Our first challenge is to beat last season’s points total (54 points) – that’s what we’ve said and we’re well on our way to that, but we want to go beyond that if we can.

“Let’s get there first though, that’s our first target.

“But we’ve got our own personal targets that we feel aren’t unrealistic, they’re attainable.

“The lads know that, and they’ve got their own.

“They’re not content with just wanting to stay in the division, they want to try to get in the top half of the table and show that there has been progress.”

Stanley will aim to take the next step tonight, against a Dagenham side who are unbeaten this month.

Stephenson is undaunted by the east London club’s run having beaten Chesterfield and run fellow high flyers Rochdale and Burton close.

“We deserved something against Burton and Rochdale. When we reflect back on those two games we more than held our own, especially Rochdale.

“Their (first) goal came out of the blue and I felt we were definitely worthy of a point, if not three,” said Stanley’s number two.

“We’re pleased but we also believe we could have had more. We just want to keep going now because we know it’s the business end of the season.”

Stanley are still without Laurence Wilson, who missed Saturday’s draw with Plymouth with a groin injury.

On-loan Adam Buxton filled in at left back, with Nicky Hunt returning at right back. Fit-again left back Michael Liddle is also an option at full-back.

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