John Coleman: Accrington won’t have flip flops on against Portsmouth
John Coleman is disappointed Pompey aren’t still in the battle for League One automatic promotion ahead of Accrington’s curtain-closer at Fratton Park.
The Blues’ 3-2 defeat to Peterborough on Tuesday put paid to their top-two ambitions.
Kenny Jackett’s men trail leaders Luton and second-placed Barnsley by four points ahead of the final weekend of the regular season before the play-off campaign starts.
Pompey are still aiming to finish third and can guarantee it with a victory over Stanley tomorrow (5.30pm).
Coleman admits he was excited about the potential of a ‘really good atmosphere’ at PO4 if the Blues were still in the hunt for automatic promotion.
And while Accrington have nothing to play for, he insists his troops won’t be ‘playing with our flip flops on.’
Coleman told his club’s website: ‘It’s disappointing they aren’t still in with a chance of automatic promotion as that would have made for a really good atmosphere but it will still be a good game.
‘It’s a relief to go into this game knowing we are safe and not worrying about other results around us but we want to put on a show and win the game.
‘It will be a nice pitch, a nice stadium and it’s a chance for our players to play with freedom and, when we do, we can be a dangerous proposition as we showed against Plymouth last week.
‘We will be taking this as any other game, we are not playing with our flip flops on.’
Jackett is expected to make a few switches to his starting XI against Stanley, with Omar Bogle and Viv Solomon-Otabor in contention to start.
But Coleman warned making wholesale could mean the Blues will lose momentum heading into the play-offs.
The Stanley boss added: ‘We don’t know what team Portsmouth will play, I just remember the first time Accrington were in the play-offs in 2011.
‘We went on an unbelievable run, we were on the crest of a wave and I made nine changes for the final game of the season at Burton. I didn’t want players getting injured.
‘We did draw at Burton but, although we didn’t lose the game, I felt we lost the momentum we had built up and it affected us in the play-offs against Stevenage.
‘If I had my time again, I wouldn’t make the changes and would risk the injuries but I can’t govern what Portsmouth do.’