Our look at next season's opponents starts with Accrington Stanley
– 85 Pointsth 4Last Season’s Finish:
: Wham StadiumGround
A remarkable season for the Lancashire side saw them miss out on automatic promotion on the final day of the 2015/16 season on goal difference. Their season then ended with heartache as John Coleman’s side lost out to AFC Wimbledon over two legs in the play-off semi-finals.
An unbeaten period between the middle of August and the end of September, which included a 3-0 win over Reds at the Checkatrade Stadium, meant that Stanley got off to a solid start, before they lost three of their next four in the league.
Another six game unbeaten spell followed with a 5-1 win at York City undoubtedly the highlight. From the middle of March to the end of April Coleman’s men notched up another unbeaten sequence – but a winless three games at the end of the campaign consigned the side to the play-offs where they succumbed to the eventual play-off winners.
Manager: John Coleman
John Coleman joined Stanley in 1999 and his 12 year tenure saw the side reach the Football League in 2006 – they achieved an impressive three promotions in that time. He was the club’s longest serving manager and when he departed for Rochdale he held the title for the third longest serving manager in the country behind Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson.
Coleman returned to the club in September 2014, following spells with Rochdale, Southport and Sligo Rovers.
Key Man: Billy Kee
The loss of Josh Windass and Matt Crookes to Glasgow Rangers is a big blow for the side; Windass scored 16 goals last season in the league. He was bettered by one by striker Billy Kee, who notched 17 goals for the club. The former Burton striker was once a target for ex-Reds boss Steve Evans.
Coleman has offered new deals to 16 of last season's squad and released four players. Six players were already under contract, including Kee.