JOHN Coleman insists confidence is still high at Accrington Stanley despite slipping to a 2-0 defeat at Ipswich Town at the weekend.

Stanley host Fleetwood tonight (7pm ko) looking to bounce back from their first defeat since losing at home to Oxford United last month.

And the Reds boss says his side are moving in the right direction although he admits there is always room for improvement.

Stanley slipped from fifth to ninth place in League One following the defeat at Portman Road but Coleman has been happy with his side’s early season form. “I thought we played well at Ipswich and, if we play like that all season, we will win more than we lose,” Coleman told the club website.

“We played some really good football, we made plenty of chances against the league leaders and our confidence hasn’t taken a knock from that result.

“We know there are areas we can improve on but we are going in the right direction.”

Stanley face a Fleetwood side that could include ex-Reds star Sam Finley having served his 10-game ban and Coleman wishes the midfielder luck at his new club - but not tonight.

“It’s ironic his ban is up when they are down to play us but we wish Sam all the best except when he plays against us,” said Coleman.

The Cod Army are currently 14th in the table having won two of their opening six games but Coleman is expecting a tough test from Joey Barton’s team who reached last season’s play-off semi finalists.

“We know Fleetwood will be dangerous,” he said. “They have had a mixed bag of results so far, with some good ones and some indifferent ones.

“We know all about Joey’s team and he will know all about ours.

“Both teams will go for it hammer and tongs and it’s just a shame there won’t be fans here to watch it.”

Barton bolstered his squad with the loan signing of Blackburn Rovers defender Charlie Mulgrew who made his debut off the bench in Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Lincoln

“They have got good players all over the park and two potent strikers in Paddy Madden and Ched Evans and we know we will have to be at our best to deny them but they will know we have good players.

“I know Joey and, the longer he is in a manager’s role, the better he will get. They were in the play-offs last season and they will be looking to go one better this season.”

Stanley have Dion Charles available again after serving a three-match ban following his sending off in the 4-1 defeat to Oxford - the Reds only home defeat this season, a ‘freak result’ according to Coleman.

“I don’t count Oxford as, at 1-1, there was only one winner and then they got a fluke goal and the game hinged, in my opinion, on a horrendous decision with the sending off of Dion Charles,” he said.

“We certainly haven’t lost heart from that and we go into every game full of confidence.

“It’s a big boost having Dion back and it is difficult for me to pick a squad let alone a team at the moment. There was a good tempo in training, confidence is high and we can’t wait for the game.”