John Coleman says the relegation scrap his side were involved in during the second half of the season has taken its toll.

Stanley were riding high around the play-off positions in November, but only secured their league status with a game remaining.

The calendar year has been a tough one for Stanley, with performances not bringing results, with a lack of goals a real concern.

But the prize of League One football for another year has been secured at the Wham Stadium, despite having no trophy to show for it as they did when winning League Two last season.

Survival is both a relief, and cause for celebration, but Coleman admits it’s been testing times for him and the players.

He explained: “I think it’s an on-going thing. The more things go against you the worse you feel and the more things you feel go against you.

“It’s hard to describe. It affects your life and I’m sure it does the players as well.

“It’s difficult to appease the fans. Some of our fans will think we’ve underperformed and to a certain extent I’d agree with them.

“We’ve got ourselves in to some good positions, to be fourth in November and then to be fighting relegation in April, it’s hard to take.

“But staying up, it’s the same prize as winning League Two and everyone was euphoric about that. Staying up, everyone might not be as euphoric but we still get League One football next year.

“If you look at the size of the clubs that could go down, Bradford have already gone, and the other clubs if you look at their resources they’re a lot more than ours.

“I think some of our fans think it’s plain sailing that you should continually be able to assemble a team and punch above your weight. It is difficult and you can’t ride the crest of a wave continually, there are times when you’ll have to dig in and the true fans do, and appreciate that.”

Six teams will battle it out on the final day to avoid the drop, with three places still waiting to be filled.

And the Stanley boss says getting the rub of the green shouldn’t be underestimated.

He added: “I can’t emphasise how much luck plays a part in football. You see it up and down the country. I saw Walsall v Southend the other week and they had a moment, similar to what we had a few years ago, when the referee blows his whistle as the ball is going in to the net.

“Then they (Southend) get a penalty awarded against them in the 94th minute which is never a penalty. You could see the pain in their players as they all sank to their knees when he gave it.

“You can’t govern that. You can plan, you can recruit, but you can’t govern that.

“At Doncaster, the lad hits a screaming shot and it hits the bar. On another day that bounces in.

“So much is out of your own control. The Rochdale game and the Luton game, three minutes in, the same end of the pitch, we commit a foul and it’s a rightly given as a penalty.

“Against Rochdale, they commit a transgression, a blatant handball, and it’s not given. How can you legislate for that?

“Games change on these things. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t do your job and just wait for the luck to come your way. That’d be foolish. You have to try and make the luck go your way, but sometimes it doesn’t.

“You have to get yourself in to a position where you’re playing well, making chances, and take the element of luck out of it.”