Jimmy Bell is determined for Accrington Stanley to remain fighting on several fronts this season.
And the Stanley assistant manager has urged his fringe players to give him and John Coleman something to think about in tonight’s Checkatrade Trophy match at Wigan Athletic.
The equation is simple for the Reds, a win at the DW Stadium will see them qualify from Northern Group B, alongside Blackpool – while Wigan need just a draw to advance to the knockout stages.
Latics boss Paul Cook is somebody that the Stanley management duo know well and Bell believes the style of the two teams means an entertaining game is in store tonight.
“We’re expecting Wigan to be a very good footballing outfit,” he said. “A team that Paul Cook will put together to try and beat us – but we’ll be looking to do the exact same, we always want to win everything that we are involved in, everyone knows that and tonight will be no different.
“We have to win to progress from our group, we’re aware of that, and it’s got the potential to be another highly entertaining game as Wigan have it all to play for too.
“They’ll have some technical players out there, they’ll try and play right through us so it will be a different sort of challenge to what we’ve come up against in recent weeks, we’re looking forward to the test.”
With an FA Cup replay and two league fixtures to come in quick succession, Bell believes squad rotation could be a key factor – and has called on the Stanley ‘fringe players’ to step forward, starting tonight.
“The team that we put out will be a strong one, as we have rules we have to adhere to,” he added. “But there will also be a couple of chances for some of our lads who have been chomping at the bit for more game time.
“We’ve made a couple of tweaks in recent games and this will be a perfect opportunity for a few players to throw their hat into the ring for a starting place against Cambridge on Saturday.
“The games are starting to come thick and fast, suspensions for five bookings are on the horizon, this is the time that you really need your squad and we need to make sure everybody is ready to step in and make a difference.”