Pompey v Accrington: The Insider

Accrington midfielder Matt Crooks   Picture: Barry Zee
Accrington midfielder Matt Crooks Picture: Barry Zee
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It’s been an unbelievable season so far – far exceeding other people’s expectations of the club.

People at Stanley always thought they would do better than others predicted, but I don’t think even they envisaged being quite so high in the League Two table (fourth).

Accrington are playing good football and are in fantastic form.

I think they have got a good squad – recruitment over the summer was very good and they have a couple of excellent young players in Josh Windass and Matt Crooks.

They have both been exceptional this season.

Crooks, now he has been given a position in midfield, has been superb.

And Windass has been chipping in with the goals.

I think the manager as well is the perfect fit for the club – John Coleman seems to be getting the best out of everybody.

They have always had success when he has been around and they are flying this season.

Windass is the man most will have heard about because of his 11 goals so far this term.

He plays just off the front man but he contributes a lot of goals from what is basically a midfield position.

He has got a good eye for goal, good movement and is a really good finisher.

He is a really confident footballer and I think it has been key that he has had a run of games at Stanley – for the first time in his career.

The manager actually rates Crooks higher than Windass, though.

He has not caught the eye as much in terms of the fact he has not scored as many goals.

But both of them you can tell are not long for this level.

I don’t think anyone will leave in January but I imagine both of them, come the end of the season, will be off.

As far as today’s game is concerned, Accy will want to go on as much of a Cup run as they possibly can.

There is still a sense of frustration at what happened in the competition last season.

They drew at home to Yeovil in the second round and then the draw pitted Yeovil or Stanley at home to Manchester United.

Stanley lost the replay at Yeovil – it was 0-0 with five minutes to go before they conceded two late goals.

The club know how close they came to what would have been a massive pay day at home to United last season.

I think they will take this afternoon’s game seriously.

They played a strong team at home to York in the last round and I fully expect them to play a strong team again.

Dean Winnard aside, they are injury free and will line up playing the 4-2-3-1 formation that Pompey are accustomed to.

Don’t be surprised to see Coleman name the same team that beat York 5-1 on the road last weekend.