John Coleman is looking forward to having a glass of wine with his mate Paul Cook after tomorrow’s clash at Portsmouth – with a win in the bag.
Former Stanley manager Cook, whose assistant is another ex-Reds boss Leam Richardson, are at the helm at Pompey with the task to take Portsmouth up this season.
They also have ex-Reds Gary Roberts and Kal Naismith among their number.
“It’s the first time I have faced Paul as Accrington manager,” said Coleman, who has known ‘Cooky’ since he was a youngster.
“I faced him once when he was Accrington manager but it’s not me against Paul or Jimmy (Bell) against Leam. It’s our eleven against their eleven.
“We will probably have a cup of tea before the game and a glass of wine after and it will have no bearing on the game.”
Midfielder Cook came to Accrington as a player-coach and played his part in helping the Reds winning the Conference title in 2006.
“I would like to think working with Jimmy and I gave him an appetite for management. I would like to think we were role models for him,” continued Coleman.
“He has done fantastically well and we would like to think we played a part in that. He has gone to places which, by his own admission, have financial clout and he has taken them one step further. He has assembled good attractive sides.”
Coleman is also an admirer of Richardson, who left Stanley to become Cook’s assistant at Chesterfield in 2013.
“Leam didn’t play for me as much as I would have liked due to injuries but I would like to think we also helped him on his way.
“When Leam was manager at Accrington we gave him a lot of advice and you have got to give him credit, he stood on his own two feet and, when it looked like Accrington were in trouble, he galvanised them and kept them up. He too has gone on to have a good career in management.”
Coleman also knows that winger Gary Roberts is a major threat – the Reds boss brought Roberts from Welshpool in 2005 before he moved onto Ipswich in 2006.
“Gary is a good player. We played a small part in giving him the opportunity and a platform and he has grasped it with both hands.
“We have brought a number of players through but Gary stands out with how much he grasped the opportunity, how much he wanted it and his determination to work hard and not let it go. He has been to big clubs, had good contracts and has had a great career.
“Portsmouth have some good players and Paul says there is a lot of hype around them as, because of what he did at Chesterfield, they are favourites to win every game and go up.
“They have assembled a good squad but we will go there with a game plan and, if we stick to it, we have a great chance to win. We did it last year.”