ACCRINGTON Stanley boss John Coleman has revealed he nearly took Colby Bishop off before he scored the winner at Southend.

The striker returned from an ankle injury for the game at Roots Hall with his fifth goal of the season handing his side a 1-0 victory.

Given the 22-year-old was only just returning from a spell on the sidelines, Coleman had planned to withdraw Bishop early in the second half.

But the former Leamington man popped up to convert Jerome Opoku's cross and continue his fine start to life in League One after jumping up from non-league in the summer.

Offrande Zanzala took his place on the hour as he made his own comeback with Joe Pritchard also impressing off the bench late on, a positive sign for the Stanley boss when it comes to the depth of his squad.

“Ironically I was about to take him (Bishop) off 30 seconds before he scored," said Coleman. 

"He hasn’t played for two weeks and I think he was still a little sensitive with his ankle.

“I never expected him to play 90 anyway today, but Ozzy’s (Offrande Zanzala) been raring to go and he’s been fantastic all week.

“He was lively, Joe Pritchard was the same, so you know we’ve got a good squad here.”

The victory was a long overdue second league win of the campaign, Stanley having seen leads come and go in recent weeks, conceding a 92nd-minute equaliser in the 1-1 draw at home to Blackpool seven days earlier. 

The Reds, 17th in the League One table 10 games in, host Oxford this Saturday, Karl Robinson's side 10th having scored 16 goals without reply in their last five games.

But after taking three points in Essex Coleman now wants his side to kick on and move towards the right end of the table and continue turning promising performances into points.

“Our results are starting to improve and our performances have definitely improved since the start of the season," the Stanley boss told the club website.

“We’ve just got to keep going and keep believing that we can climb the table.

“We should have beaten Wycombe (Wanderers) the other week and they’re second in the league, so there’s no reason why we can’t aspire to be there.”