JOHN Coleman feels tomorrow's trip to League One leaders Lincoln City will be a gauge of Accrington Stanley's promotion aspirations.

The Reds face a side riding high thanks to a run of just one defeat in their last nine league games which puts them three points clear of second placed Hull City, with a game in hand over their nearest challengers.

Stanley are two points outside of the top six, after a four-game unbeaten run was ended by Plymouth Argyle at the Wham Stadium on Tuesday, despite their dominance on home soil.

And in looking for a response to that narrow 1-0 loss, Coleman hopes to underline their top six ambitions. Even against the division's pace setters.

“It’s a good test for us, we know what they can do, we will be prepared and will do our best to win the game, we won’t be going there for a draw,” said the Stanley boss.

“I think people are realising they won’t get an easy game with Accrington.

“We are a work in progress, the players are still learning each other and the methods. When we get it right, we are good, we just have to keep playing at the top of our game.”

Although it wasn't reflected in the result on Tuesday, Coleman was encouraged by the level of performance against the Pilgrims, which he said filled him with pride despite the outcome.

The Reds boss admits he has become more measured in his assessment and reaction to games in recent years.

“I have tried to be calmer in my approach, I didn’t feel the same way as I would have done years ago when we have lost," said Coleman.

“Ben Barclay hasn’t meant to make that mistake (that led to Plymouth's goal), the lads haven’t meant to miss the chances, their keeper has had an inspired game and you have got to study how we played – and we played well.

“When you look at the results around us you think we have missed a real chance to be in there and cement our place but it hasn’t done that much damage.

“I have come away feeling comfortable that we are going in the right direction, we are playing well and we are an improving team."

Sean McConville serves the second of his four-match ban but Joe Pritchard is available after his one-game suspension.

Ryan Cassidy and Gary Roberts remain sidelined through injury while Ross Sykes, Mo Sangare and Lamine Kaba Sherif are long-term absentees.