DAVID Dunn never did fulfil his dream of playing for his 'second club' Accrington Stanley.

But tonight his Barrow side will play against John Coleman's Reds in the Papa John's Trophy.

Pre-Covid, Dunn was a regular at the Wham Stadium when he didn't have a game himself. And after leaving Rovers in 2015, following 378 appearances across two spells for his boyhood club, he said: "One thing I certainly would like to do at some point, whether it’s sooner or later, is play for a club down the road I’m quite fond of.

“And not just play for Stanley, but try and help them out too. I know people there very well and it’s a good little club I feel a lot for.”

In the end, the Rovers legend joined Oldham Athletic, where his playing career ended and his career in coaching and managing began.

Dunn took charge of Barrow in the summer and this is a tie he would have been relishing ever since the draw put the teams together in Northern Group G.

The 40-year-old, who hails from Great Harwood, would normally be rooting for the Reds, who top the group with five points. But a win for League Two Barrow, who are second on three points ahead of Blackpool on goals scored, would guarantee them a place in the knockout stages.

"I like Dunny, he's a great lad and I've known him for years, he's a true footballing person," said Stanley boss Coleman.

"I'm sure he'll be keen to get one over on us, we've just got to try and win the game and take it like anything else.

"They have got good players, we've watched them and done a little bit of preparation on them, and I'm sure they'll have done the same with us."

Coleman is keen to bounce back from their FA Cup first round exit at the hands of Tranmere Rovers on Saturday and stay on another route to Wembley.

It was a tough return to action for Stanley at Prenton Park, given they had only two days' preparation as a squad following a coronavirus outbreak and subsequent two-week shutdown. Nevertheless, Coleman wants to see a response at Holker Street tonight (kick-off 7pm).

"We can't look for excuses and we're not going to do that, it's understandable that fatigue will play some kind of part in it with so many being ill for so long and having little time to work back," said the Reds boss, speaking to the club website.

"Your fitness or your lungs shouldn't really affect how you pass the ball or the decisions you make.

"Hopefully we'll be stronger and as the weeks go on we'll get stronger and stronger."

On-loan Chelsea goalkeeper Nathan Baxter could keep his place in goal after impressing on his debut on Saturday but Sean McConville will be assessed after missing Saturday's game with a heel injury.

Michael Nottingham and Jon Russell are both unavailable tonight, while Tom Allan has been struggling with a thigh injury.