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Since we last met: Accrington Stanley

12 April 2024

Club News

Since we last met: Accrington Stanley

12 April 2024

The season looked to be grinding its way towards a conclusion for Accrington Stanley until they ended their recent slump with a 3-1 win at Newport County.

Prior to that, Stanley had collected four wins from 17 matches, seeing them slip away from play-off contention.

This will be the fourth meeting of the season between to the two sides. The reverse fixture in the league brought a goalless draw while the FA Cup tie went all the way to penalties, with Rovers triumphing from the spot.

THE LAST MEETING

Rovers battled out their first away draw of the campaign as horrendous conditions played their part in a goalless clash with Accrington in December.

Both chances and sustained possession proved hard to come by for each side as howling winds and driving rain took their toll on proceedings.

End-to-end wind ensured the ball was either held up in the air or driven forward which made for an unpredictable afternoon at a wet Wham Stadium.

With neither side able to stamp their authority on the game, a stalemate looked the most likely, barring a piece of individual quality or a mistake which never came.

Substitute Harrison Biggins struck the bar with a header in the closest Rovers came to breaking the deadlock, while Owen Bailey made a block on the line to prevent the hosts from edging in front.

ACCRINGTON’S RECENT FORM

Tuesday night’s 3-1 win at Newport County was only Stanley’s second victory in their previous 11 matches, with six defeats in that run.

Their last six games have brought a bit of everything - with two wins, two defeats and two draws - which has helped steady their slide down the table.

Away from home, Accrington have won six of their 20 league matches - including two of their last three.

LAST TIME OUT

Newport County 1 Accrington Stanley 3

Sky Bet League Two, Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Line-up: Vitek, O’Brien, Hills, Gubbins (Quirk 88), Shipley, Woods, Conneely (Martin 66), Nolan, Henderson (Pritchard 66), Whalley, Leigh (Lowe 66). Subs not used: McIntyre, Patrick, Woods.

THE MANAGER

It has been all-change at the top for Accrington since the last meeting, with John Coleman’s nine-and-a-half-year second stint as manager of the club ended with his sacking at the start of March.

The man tasked with taking up the reins following the lengthy tenure of Coleman, which came to an end earlier this year, is John Doolan who has been on the coaching staff at the Wham Stadium since 2017.

The 55-year-old enjoyed a nomadic career in non-league football but played league football for Wigan Athletic, where he worked on the coaching staff after time in the academies of Liverpool and Everton.

Prior to joining Accrington, he was part of the coaching set up at Hibernian and Rotherham United.

THE KEY MEN

Goalkeeper - Radek Vitek

Standing around 6ft5in, the 20-year-old has been on loan from Manchester United since January. He moved to Old Trafford in 2020 from SK Sigma Olomouc in his home in Czechia. While Vitek has yet to represent United at senior level, he was an unused substitute on three occasions earlier this season.

Defender - Brad Hills

Another loanee, the centre back moved to the Wham Stadium in the summer from Norwich City. The 20-year-old has made a good impression with Accrington, scoring three goals in 44 appearances so far in his first season in league football. He has also been named captain on several occasions.

Midfielder - Tommy Leigh

After leaving Portsmouth at the age of 16, Leigh dropped into non-league with Baffins Milton Rovers and Bognor Regis Town before Accrington picked him up for an undisclosed fee in 2021. Since then, the 24-year-old has scored 27 goals in 116 appearances for Accrington, with seven coming this season.

Striker - Shaun Whalley

A vastly experienced and versatile forward, Whalley joined Stanley at the start of last season for his second spell with the club. The 36-year-old has scored seven goals in 36 appearances this season. Whalley made more than 250 appearances for Shrewsbury in the seven years prior to joining Accrington.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

In 1968, the current Accrington Stanley rose from the ashes of the club that had been a member of the Football League from 1921 to 1962. The new Stanley joined the Football Conference in 2003 and three years later secured promotion to the Football League.

The first league meeting of the new Stanley and Rovers came in August 2016 at the Wham Stadium, with Accrington winning 3 as Tommy Rowe and Andy Williams scored for Rovers. In the return fixture in February 2017, the teams drew 2-2 with Rowe and John Marquis netting for Rovers.

In ten league meetings Rovers have won only once, while Stanley have won six times. Rovers did knock Stanley out of the League Trophy in 2006 and the FA Cup earlier this season.

TURNED OUT FOR BOTH

Striker Mallik Wilks had loan spells at both clubs while with Leeds United. In 2017/18 he scored five goals in 24 appearances for Stanley, for whom he played only in the first half of the season. In 2018/19, Mallik scored an impressive 16 goals in 55 outings on a season-long loan with Rovers during which they reached the fifth round of the FA Cup and the League One play-offs.

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