JOHN Coleman is looking forward to “crossing swords” with Joey Barton when Accrington Stanley make the long trip to Bristol Rovers this evening.

The Reds boss is glad to see his fellow Liverpudlian back in business having been appointed Rovers manager last month after leaving Fleetwood Town in January having spent two-and-a-half seasons in charge of the Cod Army.

And there will be another familiar face in the opposition dugout with former Stanley striker Andy Mangan a part of Barton’s backroom staff who, along with Clint Hill, followed him down to the west country.

While Stanley enjoyed a 6-1 win against The Gas at the Wham Stadium just five weeks ago, Coleman is expecting a different Rovers this evening with Barton at the helm.

“I don’t think 6-1 reflected the play to be honest, that flattered us a little bit,” said Coleman of that first meeting where Dion Charles scored his first professional hat-trick.

“Joey knows his onions, he knows what he is doing. So we expect a tough game. We have crossed swords a few times and they have been interesting games.

“Myself and Jimmy know Joey well and the rest of his coaching staff, Clint Hill and Mangy (Andy Mangan).”

He added: “It will be good to see him to be honest, I am glad he is back in football.

“I think he has got a good club, Bristol Rovers are a big club and if he gets them going, I think he can do wonders with them.”

Stanley head to the Memorial Stadium on the back of a 2-1 win over Swindon Town which ended a four-game run without a win.

With another long trip to MK Dons on Saturday, Coleman just wants to get some momentum going to maintain their push for the play-offs.

“You are just trying to get as many wins as you can on the board,” he told the club website.

“Everyone is playing each other. They are hard scraps, it doesn’t matter who you play. There are no easy games, there are no overly difficult games either.

“Every game is pretty similar, every team can beat each other, you couldn’t call any scores beforehand and we are seeing that week in, week out.

“You need a little bit of luck, which we know, and a lot of application. You can’t fault us for our efforts sometimes we get things wrong a little bit but it is not for the want of trying and tomorrow will be exactly the same as I am sure Bristol Rovers will be as well.

“So it is going to be an interesting game and hopefully we can get what we are coming for which is a win.”

With it now being a year since Stanley last played in front of their fans, Coleman added: “I have said all along, football is not football without fans and whether we are successful this year or not, it won’t be the same without the fans.”