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A look at the opposition: Accrington Stanley

8 December 2023

Club News

A look at the opposition: Accrington Stanley

8 December 2023

Rovers are back at the Wham Stadium for the second time in less than four weeks as they renew acquaintances with Accrington Stanley.

And they will be looking for a repeat performance, having triumphed in the first round replay in the Emirates FA Cup. 

Stanley have not fared too well since that meeting, losing three of their last four matches. 

LAST TIME OUT 

Accrington Stanley 3 Swindon Town 4 

Sky Bet League Two, Tuesday, November 28, 2023 

Line up: McCracken (McIntyre 77), Longelo, Rich-Baghuelou (Gubbins 67), Hills, Lowe, Leigh, Conneely (Woods 67), Whalley, Andrews (Woods 90), Nolan, Adedoyin.  

THE MANAGER 

The 2023/24 campaign marks John Coleman’s tenth season of his second spell in charge of Accrington – a run that has seen the manager become synonymous with the East Lancashire club. 

Coleman guided the reformed Accrington to three non-league promotions and brought EFL football to the town in 2006 for the first time in the club’s existence. Since returning, the 61-year-old won the League Two title to take Stanley to tier three and keep them there for five years between 2018 and 2023. 

THE KEY MEN 

Goalkeeper: Jack McIntyre 

Following the injury of emergency loan goalkeeper Jon McCracken, McIntyre was thrown between the sticks on 77 minutes in Stanley’s narrow loss to Swindon last time out. 

The former Everton and Sunderland youngster had previously only played four times for Accrington and kept one clean sheet. 

Defender: Jay Rich-Baghuelou 

A former Australian U23 international, Rich-Baghuelou has become something of a fan favourite as of late at Accrington and has played 18 times for his side already this term. 

The former Fulham youngster has featured on the non-league circuit with Dulwich Hamlet and Welling United before joining Stanley from Crystal Palace in 2022 without an Eagles appearance to his name. 

In the middle: Tommy Leigh 

The 23-year-old midfielder is set to make his 100th appearance for Stanley on Saturday afternoon and has made his mark at the Wham Stadium since arriving in 2021. 

The former Portsmouth youth player made a name for himself in non-league with over a century of appearances combined for Baffins Milton Rovers and Bognor Regis Town before joining Stanley where he is now ever-present in midfield.  

Up top: Matt Lowe 

Former England C international Lowe is only into his second season as an EFL footballer at the age of 27 having featured in the National League North up until 2022. 

He played a handful of times for Wealdstone on loan from Cambridge United before featuring on 97 occasions for Brackley. He scored 22 times at St James Park before joining Accrington. 

HEAD-TO-HEAD 

Rovers first match against Accrington came in 1924 before meeting the new Stanley in November 2006. Paul Heffernan and Sean Thornton scored the goals on that occasion as Rovers ran out 2-0 winners on their way to the EFL Trophy title. 

Since the reform, the sides have met 13 times but Stanley hold the upper hand in the head-to-head rivalry with their seven wins in comparison to Rovers’ three while the other three games have resulted in draws. 

The most recent meeting between the two sides saw their FA Cup first round replay go to extra-time in November 2023 as Zain Westbrooke and Joe Ironside grabbed the all-important goals to see Rovers progress at the Crown Ground. 

TURNED OUT FOR BOTH 

Both clubs enjoyed the services of then-young prospect and goalkeeper Ross Etheridge at the start of his professional career. The stopper’s first permanent move away from Derby County came at Stanley and he went on to collect nine clean sheets in 24 appearances for the club. 

After just one season in East Lancashire, Rovers swooped in for Etheridge’s signature and started the 2016/17 campaign as Darren Ferguson’s starting keeper. His game time would however be limited in South Yorkshire as he only featured on eight occasions before collecting a League Two promotion for his CV. 

The Chesterfield-born keeper is now playing at step seven on the non-league circuit with local side South Normanton. 

Contributor: Jefferson Hall-Nolan 

*****

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