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Cook delighted with strength in depth
PAUL Cook says he does not know his best 11 at Accrington Stanley – and insists that is the way it has to be if they are to continue their impressive start to the campaign.
The Reds followed up a home win over Aldershot with a 2-1 victory at AFC Wimbledon at the weekend to move to fourth in the League Two table after nine matches.
An intriguing home game against seventh-placed Rochdale – John Coleman’s first match against his former club – is on the horizon on Saturday but tonight Stanley host a Rotherham side regarded by many as pre-season favourites to win the division.
The Millers have recruited a number of new players as they play their first season at their new home, the 12,000-seater New York Stadium, but they currently sit 10th – three points behind Cook’s side.
Stanley continue to work with a limited budget, as always, but Cook has opted to use that money to add quantity as well as quality to his squad this term. The Reds have 25 first-team players to choose from – with three more out on loan in non-league to gain experience – and Cook believes it is vital to have options with games coming thick and fast.
He left top scorer Padraig Amond on the bench for the victory against Aldershot last weekend, with the Irish striker coming on to score the winner before suggesting that Stanley were no weaker for making a number of changes in that game. It is an idea Cook concurs with.
"I think it’s a problem for a manager if he knows his best 11," said the Reds boss.
"I think it means that a lot of lads in and around the squad are there to make the numbers up.
"We don’t want to have players at the club who we don’t think about playing.
"It’s not being critical on anybody who’s been here before, but come the day before a game we should be speaking about who’s trained really well and who wants to play, because that hunger and desire from training will go into matches."
One player who will not be playing tonight is midfielder Danny Schofield, who is on loan from Rotherham and will not be involved under the terms of the agreement between the two clubs.
Stanley face a Millers side managed by Steve Evans, who became unpopular with Reds fans during his days in charge at Crawley and Boston. Evans, though, will not even be at the Crown Ground tonight as he serves the fifth game of a six-match stadium ban for an incident at Bradford while he was manager of Crawley last season.
Stanley striker James Gray is also now set to face a suspension after being sent off on Saturday for an alleged elbow only 20 minutes into his debut for Vauxhall Motors, having joined the Conference North side on a month’s loan. Gray insisted he did not deserve the red card but is now set to miss three Vauxhall Motors games.
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