JOHN Coleman believes Stanley defender Ross Sykes’ insatiable appetite, in more ways than one, can help him reach the very top of the game.

The 20-year-old captained the Reds in the EFL Trophy win over Oldham Athletic on Tuesday night as his development continues apace.

After 26 appearances in a breakthrough campaign last time around, academy product Sykes has continued to establish himself alongside Mark Hughes at the heart of Coleman’s defence this season.

Having been handed the armband at Boundary Park, the Stanley boss believes his top prospect has a chance of going all the way, helped by his desire to grow in all aspects.

“To captain the side at a young age and lead the team like he does is excellent,” Coleman said.

“He’s still got plenty years left in him of improving and I wouldn’t rule him out for playing at the top level.

“Especially with someone the size of Ross, he was growing into his body and he was still developing, like he is now.

“Friday nights when we play away, he eats his salmon and then he makes sure he eats Jimmy Bell’s salmon as well.

“I can’t believe the size of the breakfast he eats, but he’s a growing lad. It’s good to show that we can bring players through like that.”

Along with goalscorer Jordan Clark, Sykes was one of two players to play both the 2-2 draw against Oxford on Saturday and the EFL Trophy game.

Both are expected to play a third game in a week at Rochdale today and Coleman was impressed with how the senior duo led the way against Oldham as the Reds boss made nine changes and saw his side reach the knockout stages with ease against the 10-man Latics.

“Jordan Clark would play every day if we let him to be honest,” he said.

“That type of enthusiasm is great, obviously it was nice for Ross to captain the team and I thought both of them were excellent and they showed a great attitude.

“You’re looking for them to give us a spark and they did.”

Clark has scored in both games this week to make it four for the season, the winger already well on the way to matching the nine he got in each of the previous two campaigns.

Adding more goals is the only thing for missing for a player that Coleman has always rated highly since his move to East Lancashire three years ago.

“He’s known he’s had to add the goals in his game,” said the Accrington manager.

“He’s a good player, I’ll tell anyone how good Jordan is.

“Everyone knows my thoughts on him and how highly I value him.

“I’ve seen him develop over the last few years and he’s a top player, everyone knows that.”

Ahead of the trip to face his former club, Coleman was checking on the fitness of Sean McConville who has damaged shoulder ligaments.

The Reds boss was hoping the 30-year-old winger would be able to train ahead of the trip to Spotland but Joe Pritchard is ready to deputise as he did against Oxford at the Wham Stadium last


The former Tottenham youngster has made 10 appearances, six of those starts, since joining from Bolton Wanderers in the summer window.