John Coleman has called tonight’s League Two match against promotion rivals Bury ‘the most important game of the season.’

If Stanley win against the Shakers, they will move to within two points of the play-off places with a game in hand ahead of Saturday’s games.

And victory will close the gap on David Flitcroft’s side who are currently in eighth place, four points ahead of the Reds but having played a game more.

“The one thing I can say about this game is that Jimmy (Bell) and I view this as our most important game of the season, far bigger than the FA Cup tie with Yeovil,” said Coleman.

“This won’t make or break us but it gives us a great chance to let everybody know that we are genuine play-off contenders.

“If we do win then we’ll be on cusp of the play-offs with a game in hand after everyone else plays over the weekend.

“The last time we played on a Friday night (Exeter where Stanley lost 3-2) we said it was like a golfer playing to the green first and we put it in the bunker. We’ve got to hit the green this time.”

Coleman is keen to take advantage of the clashes at the Store First Stadium as Stanley aim for the top seven.

“As the games move on they will all become pivotal but certain ones will be more pivotal than others. In the situation we are in now, every time we play a team who are above us, it’s a great opportunity to take maximum points, particularly when we are at home.

“It’s a cliché but we have to try to make this place a fortress. We’ve shown that we can go away to places like Portsmouth, Northampton, Mansfield and Exeter and if we can back those up with home games it takes the pressure off the next away game.”

Stanley have the lowest wage bill in the league but Coleman knows this will not thwart his side’s ambitions, after reaching the play-offs in 2011.

“I’ve always been an advocate of it not being about money or resources. If it was, two Chairmen would sit throwing cheques at each other until one ran out of money but it’s not – it’s about the character you can get on the pitch, the type of players you can get, the football you can play and the belief you can instil in the players.

“We’ve got a good squad of players who want to play for the club and for each other. They are determined to get us as high as they can. If you’ve got that, then you’ve got a chance.”