JOHN Coleman has described his Accrington Stanley side as "a work in progress" but he is confident they are capable of getting back to their opening day form.

The Reds kicked off the new League One campaign with an impressive 2-0 win over promotion hopefuls Peterborough United, but have since suffered back-to-back defeats.

The Stanley boss admits it has been a challenge getting nine new signings to gel, with more arrivals expected before the transfer deadline.

But he has seen enough from his new-look squad to give him optimism for the campaign ahead.

"It's always hard getting anybody to gel, and we still think we haven't stopped with recruiting yet," said Coleman.

"I still think we're a work in progress. There are a lot of young players. We've got to get better and we've got to get better quickly.

"We set a decent standard of work rate and work ethic and good football against Peterborough and we've dropped off that standard.

"We've got to pass the ball better, we've got to work harder, we've got to work harder defensively and offensively, and we've got to start asking more questions of the opposition.

"I know they're a great set of lads though. If I didn't think that I may be slightly worried, but I'm not.

"I think we will only get better."

Coleman feels they could have got more from their home game with Oxford but for mitigating circumstances which resulted in a 4-1 defeat, including a 75th minute red card for Dion Charles - an appeal for which has been surprisingly unsuccessful.

Striker Charles was accused of stamping on an opponent's head. The Stanley boss immediately jumped to the defence of his player and remains baffled by the decision.

"We've lost an appeal - I don't know how because we speak to everybody connected with the referees, you speak to Oxford and they come out in support and say that Dion hasn't stamped on anybody, and yet we haven't got enough evidence to say that he hasn't," Coleman explained.

"If you look at the video - and we've got a better camera at the top (of the stand) - he doesn't do anything.

"He's got that stain on his character now, he loses money because he'll lose appearance money, and it's not right.

"Not only was that a major contributing factor in losing the game, we lose him for three games.

"You've just got to get on with it, even though you think it's grossly unfair it's part and parcel of life of being involved in football.

"You can't complain, you can't be too outspoken or you get punished yourself."

Charles starts the first of his three-match ban on Saturday, when Stanley travel to a so-far unbeaten AFC Wimbledon.

"They have done well and they've found a way to win. They've had some strange games, the four-all with Plymouth and draw with Northampton," said Coleman.

"All we can do is get back to playing the way we know we can do, which is on the front foot, good attacking football. I know we've got the players, hopefully we'll have Tariq (Uwakwe) back this week as well, which gives us another bit of firepower.

"I just think the longer the season goes on the better we'll get."