JOHN Coleman believes it has been a successful season for Accrington Stanley even if they fall short in their quest to reach the play-offs.

The Reds saw their slim hopes of a top-six finish fade even further following Saturday’s heavy 5-1 home defeat to AFC Wimbledon – a second big loss in the space of four games having been beaten 7-0 at Peterborough United last month.

A draw against Burton and victory at Oxford United in between did reignite hopes of a late push however the Dons’ defeat sees Stanley in 12th place and six points adrift.

But whatever happens in their seven remaining games – starting at high-flying local rivals Blackpool tonight – the Reds boss is proud of his side’s achievements.

“If you detach yourself from it and not get het up in all the hustle and bustle of football, it’s been a good season really, we have done well,” he told the club website. “We have done better than people would have expected us to.

“As James said: 'If I hadn’t seen such riches, I could live with being poor.' I think that sums it up because we have reached such heights this season, played some really good football, had some good results and got ourselves into good positions you can’t help but be disappointed when things like that happened on Saturday and at Peterborough.

“It’s been a really hard season, I was only thinking today that there are 24 days to go and we still have seven games to play.

“I wish there were fans in the grounds, it’s probably times like Saturday when you miss them more than anything. I just hope we are in good shape between now and the end of the season, win a few games and get ourselves back on track and it will be great to have the fans back next season.”

Coleman admitted his players were hurting following Saturday’s defeat and is hoping to right those wrongs at promotion-chasing Blackpool.

“The lads are hurting after Saturday,” said Coleman. “There is not point beating them with a stick, we will work on our shape today and try and win tomorrow.

“Blackpool have done well this season. I said it from day one that they would be there or thereabouts, they have a large, quality squad and that has come to the fore in the last couple of weeks.

"They have had injuries and you haven’t noticed them.

“That’s the sign of having strength in depth and they have it all over the park.

“I have been impressed the way Neil Critchley has gone about it, I like him as a fella and he comes across really well. I enjoy speaking to him and we will have a good chat after the game tomorrow.

“I like to see people who play football the right way, who have good ethics about them, thrive and it’s nice to see Blackpool thriving.

“They have a lot to play for, automatics as well, and we have just got to try and get ourselves back on track.

“If we can, that will do me and we will take it one game at a time. Tomorrow is one of those games where you can kickstart yourself. Historically we have done well against teams in the top 10 and we will try and do our best again.”