John Coleman has taken responsibility for Accrington Stanley’s relegation following five years in League One.
The legendary boss of the Reds admitted he made several mistakes last season, primarily in his recruitment strategy. He struggled for answers as things unravelled, although he wasn’t helped by an ever-increasing injury list which saw key players missing for long periods.
Despite failing to keep them up, Coleman’s position has never been in doubt. Owner Andy Holt remains loyal to the man who has brought unprecedented success to this small Lancashire club this century. Holt has put the club on a secure financial footing and it gives them a chance of bouncing back at the first opportunity.
It won’t easy of course and Coleman has admitted that several players will need to leave the club. The likes of defenders Harvey Rodgers, Michael Nottingham and Mitch Clark has left this summer whilst Mo Sangare’s departure came as a surprise having performed well in a wing-back role.
The biggest loss is likely to be attacking midfielder Tommy Leigh. League One sides Lincoln City and Portsmouth are both interested with the former already having had a bid rejected. It seems likely that he’ll be playing elsewhere by the time the transfer window shuts.
Coleman has made just the one addition so far; Brad Hills joining on a season-long loan from Norwich City. He can rely on some club stalwarts in Seamus Conneely, Sean McConville and Shaun Whalley but will need to strength both his back line and attack if they’re to challenge for promotion this season.
A top seven finish has to be the aim after dropping back to this level. Whether that’s realistic or not remains to be seen.