Who are they?! Under the experience of John Coleman, Accrington were guided to relative safety last year and those directly below them also scrapped to retain their football league status in the remaining weeks of the season. The club have been busy in pre-season and will hope for a better campaign this time around.
Last Season: League Two (17th)
Manager: John Coleman
GKs: Ross Etheridge, Jason Mooney
DFs: Adam Buxton, Matt Crooks, Tom Davies, Liam Goulding, Matty Pearson, Keenan Quansah, Dean Winnard, Joe Wright
MFs: Gerardo Bruna, Seamus Conneely, Piero Mingoia, Andrew Procter, Kealan Steenson, Josh Windass, Sean McConville, Anthony Barry
FWs: Marcus Carver, Terry Gornell, Max Hazeldine, Shay McCartan, Adam Morgan, Billy Kee
In: Tom Davies (Fleetwood Town), Adam Morgan (Yeovil Town), Matty Pearson (Halifax Town), Sean McConville (Chester), Ross Etheridge (Derby County), Billy Kee (Scunthorpe United), Jason Mooney (York City), Anthony Barry (Forest Green Rovers), Joe Wright (Huddersfield Town)
Out: Rob Atkinson (Released), George Bowerman (Released), Nicky Hunt (Mansfield Town), James Jenkins (Released), Luke Joyce (Carlisle United), Michael Liddle (Released), Kal Naismith (Portsmouth), Tony Warner (Retired), Danny Whitehead (Released), James Gray (Wrexham)
First Six: Luton Town (H), Morecambe (A), Mansfield Town (H), Notts County (A), Northampton Town (H), Portsmouth (A)
Likely Lineup: (4-4-2) Etheridge – Buxton, Crooks, Pearson, Winnard – Mingoia, McConville, Conneely, Windass – Gornell, Kee
A word from…Kenny Arthur
On moving south of the border It was always something I wanted to do, I’d played for one club all my career in Scotland [St. Johnstone]. As I’m sure you’re aware, the leagues are a lot smaller in Scotland, you play each other four times a season and that gets a bit repetitive after a while.
If you do that for enough seasons it becomes a bit monotonous, you go to the same stadiums every few months, you’re up against the same players etc etc so when the opportunity showed itself to move down south it was something I was really keen to ignore.
On his time at Accrington I really loved it there, I did. My last season at Thistle we played Accrington in a pre-season friendly, they were up in Scotland on a tour and I played quite well and I think that’s how I managed to get on Coley’s [John Coleman] radar at the time.
I loved it, I thought it was a great club, we did quite well for the two seasons I was there, lovely people around the club and I can’t speak highly enough of them if I’m honest.
On John Coleman He was great to work with, he simplified my job for me. Accy fans think he’s a football genius and they’re not far off the mark when they sat that I’m telling you.
He spelled out in black and white what he required from me as a goalkeeper and then really intelligently took away any consequences of any negative result away from me. He told me what to do and if it doesn’t go right just keep doing it, keep trying and he absolved me of any blame with that thinking.
I had two years of pretty decent form there and that was in no small way to do with his approach to management.
On his departure I always try and look back on decisions that you made and you made them for the right reason at the time.
The circumstances I was in were difficult and the criteria meant I didn’t regret it, is it a regret to have had to leave Accrington? Of course, I really enjoyed my time there and it was a wrench to leave but again you make it for the right reasons and you can’t really have regrets when that’s your philosophy.
On differences between Scotland and England The difference was if I was in the tunnel in Scotland waiting for a game I’d be the biggest player by far in the game!
I remember coming down here and I was just like everyone else, a small guy would be six feet tall! It was a lot of fun to be fair, it was interesting times.
It is what it is, it can get a little bit physical but that’s fine, it’s just part of the job.
On following the team I still do follow things yeah, I like to see what goalies they’re signing! I saw there were goals galore in a testimonial the other week so I’m sure they’ll be hoping for more of that this season!
It would be lovely to see Accy challenging up the top of the table, I think a few years after I left they got beat in the play-offs by Stevenage but it would be fantastic to see that. I keep telling my wife I’d like to go back down and go in as a punter, pay my way in to a night game with a good atmosphere!
The Offside Rule Podcast Prediction: The club have made wholesale changes to the playing squad over the summer but John Coleman is the one constant at Accrington. Whilst it still looks beyond them to challenge for promotion, they should have enough to avoid relegation.
Key Player: Seamus Conneely – The midfielder put in some good performances after arriving from Sligo Rovers earlier in the season, starting to add goals to his game in the final weeks of the season. With his first full season ahead of him, Conneely could have an important part to play this season.
One to Watch: Matty Pearson – The 21-year-old was one of the stars of a Halifax team that performed very well when coming up to the Conference a few years ago. With time on his side, Accrington may have picked up a player who will find the step up to league football an easy transition.