JOHN Coleman has confidence in loan signing Connor Simpson after the Preston youngster made his debut in the 1-1 draw with Blackpool.

Simpson was drafted in from the start, having come off the bench at Wycombe, with Colby Bishop missing out with an ankle injury.

It was just a second EFL start for Simpson, who finished last season in League Two with Carlisle, as he partnered Dion Charles in attack, before being replaced 11 minutes in to the second half.

Simpson, who came through the ranks at Hartlepool, boosted his fitness by featuring for Stanley in the Lancashire Senior Cup defeat to Blackburn Rovers earlier this month, and Coleman admits he will need more time to get up to speed.

But once he does, the Reds boss has backed him to come good.

He said: “It’s difficult for him because he’s come in to try and take Colby’s place and he’s a different type of player to Colby.

“He showed some good touches today and he tired as the game went on, but it’s a demanding job that he’s having to do, when he gets his fitness right he’ll be a handful.”

Stanley have a healthy quota of strikers on their books, but with Bishop (ankle), Offrande Zanzala (hamstring) and Courtney Baker-Richardson (groin) all currently out injured, it has heightened the pressure on Simpson to hit the ground running.

Coleman has largely gone with two strikers over the course of the last two seasons, but does feel there are other options available to him in his squad.

“Ozzy’s (Offrande Zanzala) not far away and we don’t think Colby’s that bad, we might see Colby in action next week,” he said.

“To get them two back would be really big for us, but Sean (McConville) did well when he went up top as well, and Joe (Pritchard) came on and was a handful too.”