Stanley assistant manager Paul Stephenson believes everyone at the Store First Stadium is relishing the chance to take on high flying Fleetwood this evening.
The Cod Army head to Accrington having won four of their last five games in all competitions to take on a Stanley side unbeaten in their last seven outings.
“It’s a great game for us,” said Stephenson. “It’ll be a tough game for both teams. They’re on a decent run but so are we. We’ve got one or two hurdles to get over but I’m sure they do too. If we can repeat the level of performance we’ve produced in recent weeks and really get up and at them then who knows?
“They have all the cards in their favour in terms of budgets and all that sort of thing but none of that comes into play once the first whistle goes. It just becomes about eleven against eleven and who is up for it and after it the most.”
The Reds have already won a Lancashire derby this season, with a 2-1 victory at Morecambe that saw Peter Murphy net a last gasp winner. And Stephenson feels that kind of desire and perseverance will be needed again to succeed tonight.
“I always say to players about derbies that they aren’t necessarily about performances, they are about results and those bragging rights for a win,” he explained. “I saw my hometown team Newcastle beaten by Sunderland recently and Sunderland wanted it more. At the end of the day it’s about who wants it the most. The winner of a derby is usually the one that will get over the line whatever it takes to get there.
“You do what you have to do in these games and our lads will be up for it. I know that the staff are!
“I think the players are well aware of the importance of the game. They know that Fleetwood are an emerging club with good momentum and that makes it an even bigger game. Just look where Fleetwood are in the table; that’s a great carrot for us and a good yardstick for us to gauge where we are at this point in the season.”
James Beattie’s men went 12 league games without winning and have now won four out of five but Stephenson is warning the players against getting carried away.
“We’ve still done nothing in my opinion,” he continued. “We’ve had a good few weeks but we have to continue to do that and one thing we can’t do is get complacent and think that we have cracked it. We have to try and force our way up the league now.”