2017/18 League Two Preview: John Coleman and Accrington Stanleyby Mike Holden / 10 July 2017, 15:26Tweet
Mike Holden (@Ratings_Mike) previews John Coleman and Accrington Stanley ahead of the upcoming 2017/18 League Two season.
John Coleman came within a whisker of automatic promotion two seasons ago, missing out on goal difference when Stanley were held to a 0-0 draw by Stevenage on the final day. They took a while to get going last season and were level on points with the drop zone on Boxing Day. But once they kicked into gear, they were every bit as formidable as they had been the previous campaign, just coming up short of the play-offs with successive defeats to Newport and Luton at the end of April.
Coleman is an introvert, a deep thinker who regularly talks about reflecting on games - especially defeats - in grumpy solitude afterwards. He is perfectly happy to weather prolonged runs of poor form without changing systems or personnel, so long as he believes performances have measured up to his expectations. He strives to create players who think rationally for themselves, regularly using video analysis on the training ground to recreate positional plays where players themselves come up with the answers as to how they might improve.
"We’ve got to get them into a mindset where they believe that what they’re doing now is going to lead them to a successful season. We’ve told them where we want to go and they’ve got to buy into that - or ship out, basically. We’ve got a lot of big characters in our squad who I know are keen for success. We’ve got plenty of good players still here from last season, the solid core of a squad. If I make the right additions, I don’t see why we shouldn’t be challenging at the top of the table."
Coleman is one of the most accomplished managers in the division and he’s benefitting from a level of continuity that he’s never had before. The departure of playmaker Shay McCartan to Bradford is a blow but he was an unknown quantity 12 months ago, just like Josh Windass and Matt Crooks were unknown quantities 12 months before that. The last four half-seasons have seen Stanley register 36, 39, 24 and 41 points respectively, so they clearly have the measure of the league when they get themselves going.