John Coleman believes his Stanley players should take no notice of what experts and pundits think as they look to continue their fine form.
The Reds have won their last three matches against many people’s expectations and now host a Dagenham & Redbridge side looking to end a two match winless run.
But the manager doesn’t think those statistics tell the whole story.
“Whatever way you dress it up, because we’re going into games now as one of the form teams then we’re there to be shot at and become a scalp,” he said. “It’s difficult for players sometimes to adjust. We’ve won the last three games and wouldn’t have been anyone’s favourites to win them so we go into Saturday and because Dagenham are below us we’ll be favourites to win.
“Football just doesn’t work like that! I watched Dagenham last week and they are a good side who are very, very entertaining and play a smashing brand of football. Both teams will try to play and it’ll be refreshing to see them come here and attack.
“Their away form has probably been better than their home form so it’ll be a very tough game for us. Every game is tough and that’s why I tell the players that every point should be treated like gold dust. If you can get them in lumps of three by winning it doesn’t half make a difference.”
Coleman has been back at the helm for just over three weeks and has been impressed by the ability and attitude of his squad, personified by Will Hatfield and Lee Molyneux playing in the full back positions in the midweek Lancashire Cup defeat to Manchester United.
“We’ve got a young group of players who are hungry and a bit reminiscent of last time we won something here when I had lads who weren’t well paid but had a desire and a hunger to compete for each other. It would be great to recreate that again,” said the manager.
“I thought Will was excellent, particularly in the first half. I’ve been calling him Seamus Coleman all week! It’s good that players can adapt, as Lee did too. We know they are both forward minded players but it’s helpful to have other strings to your bow. We don’t have a great deal of strength in depth in defence so it’s helpful to explore some options so if they are needed they can slot in.”
With neighbours Blackburn and Burnley not in action this weekend due to the international break Coleman is hoping for neutrals and supporters with a soft spot for Stanley to swell the gate at the Store First Stadium.
“From my time out of football I enjoyed the League Two and Conference games that I went to the most,” he concluded. “There’s a passion about them and some good football played. It will be an entertaining game because they will come with two out and out wingers and try to hurt us. We’ve got players who will be trying to hurt them as well so it should be like to heavyweight boxers not pawing at each other but trying to knock each other out.”