Stanley boss John Coleman didn’t dare consider where his side would be without the 15 goals of midfielder Sean McConville.

The winger scored his fifth goal in three games when putting his side ahead on the final day at Portsmouth on Saturday.

Three of those were match-winning strikes, with McConville one of only two players to reach double figures for the Reds, alongside Billy Kee who finished on 16 in all competitions.

McConville missed just one league game for Stanley, with only defender Mark Hughes featuring more, and he is now up to 54 goals for the club across two spells.

And while pleased with his all-round game, Coleman says it’s the goal return of McConville which has been most key.

He said: “If we hadn’t had his goals this season then I dread to think where we would be.

“Our goal return has been poor this year and something we have to improve on next year. It’s something we’ll be working on.”

The 1-1 draw at Fratton Park saw Stanley finish in 14th spot, with 55 points, five points above the relegation zone.

They scored 51 goals in their 46 matches, something Coleman is keen to improve on next season.

But paying testament to McConville, the boss added: “Sean has matured as a player and as a person and has only got better and better.

“He’s a very intelligent player Sean but he’s started using that intelligence and he’s a vital member of our squad.

“There was a lot of interest in him last year but we fought tooth and nail to keep him. Sean committed himself to the club, he could have got a lot more money elsewhere, but he has a good character and is good around the dressing room.”

A lack of goals saw Stanley slide down the table and in to relegation trouble at the start of 2019.

But they were to finish the season with seven points from a possible nine which included trips to play-off duo Doncaster and


Coleman felt his side lost their way, but believes there were mitigating factors behind their poor run of results which threatened their League One status.

“We lost our way a bit. We didn’t have any luck to be fair,” Coleman said.

“We lost a couple of players in the window that hampered us a little bit, we had a few injuries, we had the goalkeeper sent off four times, three different keepers sent off which is a freak. It’s a freak season for that.

“And we were stop-start and we were chopping and changing and I have got to learn from it and I think I will learn from it.

“I think next year we will be better prepared for this league.”

Loan recruits Janoi Donacien, Dan Barlaser, Luke Armstrong and Paul Smyth will now return to their parent clubs leaving Stanley with gaps in their squad.

Coleman has made no secret of the rebuilding job he faces this summer to get his side in a position to compete in League One again next year.

And he says work in identifying players has already begun, while he plans to sit down with his out of contract players to discuss their futures in the coming days.

He said: “I have already got my eye on players that I want to bring in for next year.

“There will be an overhaul of the squad but we do have a nucleus of a good side who play the game the right way and show a lot of passion and fight and determination and skill.”