THIS time last year Accrington Stanley were knocked out of the FA Cup thanks, in part, to the heroics of someone now in their own ranks.
Non-league Guiseley upset the Reds with a penalty shoot out victory in a Wham Stadium replay with Jonny Maxted saving two spot kicks for the Yorkshire side and subsequently move to Stanley.
Maxted is likely to be on the bench for today’s cup clash with League Two Colchester United and Reds boss John Coleman is determined not to fall at the first hurdle again.
“That hurt,” said Coleman. “I always say to the players, the big regret when you go out of the cup early is watching the third round draw and seeing clubs draw a plum tie and the exposure that comes with it. “
The FA Cup may not quite hold the same appeal it once did but for Coleman it is still a competition that means a lot.
“It does to me, it probably doesn’t for other people,” he said.
“When I was very young probably the pinnacle of anyone’s career was to score the winning goal in the FA Cup final but that has probably moved on now to the Champions League or the World Cup.
“I can remember you couldn’t wait for the FA Cup final and getting up and getting soaked with football from 9am to 6pm and then going out on the field and trying to replicate the goals that have just been scored.
“But it is a different generation now but I think it is still a big, big pull. I think at the early rounds there are clubs and players who are looking to make their mark in football and it is a chance for struggling clubs to earn money.”
The Reds head into the game on the back of a 2-1 Checkatrade Trophy win over West Brom U21s in midweek which secured their place in the knockout stages with a game to spare.
Coleman utilised his squad for that fixture with a number of fringe players coming in and impressing.
And he believes that Stanley have enough strength to combine a run in the Trophy with one in the FA Cup and a League One promotion push.
“We’ve got competition for places and because we do play quite a settled side, which is one of my traits as a manager, people could be forgiven for feeling comfortable and like they’re going to be playing every week but that’s not the case,” he added.
“We have a settled side because players play well and I don’t believe in messing about with the team just for the sake of doing it.”