ACCRINGTON Stanley boss John Coleman is expecting the toughest game since he returned to the club tomorrow as the Reds travel to Carlisle.

The Cumbrians are third from bottom in League Two but have experienced an upturn in fortunes since Keith Curle was appointed as manager in September.

“We’ve had them watched and I’ve looked at some of the videos and it will be a really tough game,” said Coleman.


“It sounds a bit cliched and people say every game is tough but they’ve got a bit about them, they put themselves about, they’ve got some good players and they’re probably in a false position in the league.

“They’ll be as desperate as anybody to get out of that situation, I’m expecting probably our toughest game so far.”

Since returning to the Store First Stadium Coleman and his long-time assistant Jimmy Bell have won five of eight league matches to move the Reds to within two points of the play-off places.

Five places separate Stanley in 12th and Southend in the last play-off spot, and Coleman has set his sights on getting into the top seven as quickly as possible.

“Getting into the play-off positions is always a bonus,” said the Reds boss, “it’s not like a stamina race or a horse race, you can never hit the front too quickly for me.

“The last time we got into the play-offs it wasn’t that we were going to ban that word and that nonsense, you’ve got talk about what you’re aiming for and that’s certainly what we’re aiming for.”

Coleman believes the perception of Stanley has already begun to change in the two months he has been back at the club.

“You speak to Notts County and their staff after the game and see how much preparation they did on us,” said Coleman, “that will tell you that the perception of us is changing.

“No disrespect to the people who’ve been in charge since I left, but there were signs of a decline. From climbing steadily, getting into the play-offs, we were in the play-offs the day I left, since then there has been a slide down the table, and but for a couple of great runs we could have lost our league status.

“Possibly the fear factor of coming to Accrington had been eroded in the last couple of years and we’re trying to get that back.”