John Coleman says Stanley must be “ruthless” this summer if they are to win promotion back to League One at the first time of asking.

Barring a freak set of results on the final day, the Reds will be playing in League Two next season after losing 2-1 against Cambridge at the Wham Stadium.

Goals from Lewis Dunk and George Thomas either side of half time put the visitors in a strong position.

Aaron Pressley pulled one back from the penalty spot seven minutes from time but it wasn’t enough for Coleman’s side.

Coleman admits his side “haven’t been good enough” this season but is determined to follow in the footsteps of Bristol Rovers, who were relegated from the third tier in 2021 and made an immediate return.

“Cambridge played well,” he said. “We knew neither team felt like a draw would be enough and the first goal was always going to be crucial and they got it.

“We never thought we would go down this season but there is no point bleating or moaning about it.

“We weren’t good enough over the season, not just today. We gave ourselves a chance with a win on Tuesday but the brutal truth is, we haven’t been good enough over the season and that’s why we are in the position we are.

“Now we have to try and emulate the likes of Bristol Rovers and bounce back up.

“I have been at the club 20 years and we have never taken a step backwards and so of course, it’s going to hurt but we have got to prepare for next season. We have got to be ruthless and get the right players in.”