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Ipswich Town 2 v 1 Accrington Stanley
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 22nd January 2022 Kick-off 15:00
A Striker Short of Being A Top Six Side - Notes for Accrington Stanley
Friday, 21st Jan 2022 15:00

With Kieran McKenna’s perfect start as Ipswich Town boss shattered at Bolton last weekend, Town host Accrington looking to return to winning ways and TomTheWriter assesses the mood in the opposition camp.

After a disappointing 2-0 defeat away to Bolton Wanderers last week, attentions turn to a tough home game against a side always playing the underdog.

Their opponents, Accrington Stanley, have impressed over the last month, currently in a run of zero defeats in five games.

This season, Colby Bishop has been back at his dominant best in the frontline, Harry Pell’s height and strength has seen him back amongst the goals from midfield with young goalkeeper Toby Savin attracting interest from much higher up the pyramid.

John Coleman

“Wonderful ‘anniversary’ present for, and a credit to, Messrs [John] Coleman and [Assistant Manager Jimmy] Bell and all the coaching staff”, “We have a manager prepared to work with extremely limited resources few others would accept”, “Dear Mr Coleman, I'm no expert on the technicalities of football coaching but I do know, to quote Albert Einstein, that ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’.” That if you're prepared to play with only one forward up front at home, you've already lost credibility as an attacking force.”

Working with one of the lowest budgets in the third tier of English football, Coleman has continued to work wonders with his Accrington side, having finished in the top half of League One last season.

“A manager picks a side and once over the white line it's the players’ responsibility correct to a point, Coleman keeps citing poor defending and individual errors”, “For John Coleman, every season is a gamble in a poker game with barely a pair in his hand, cobbling together a squad made up of loanees and free transfers in the hope that his team of journeymen can survive another season”, “Nobody is questioning Coley’s record, it's outstanding”,

This year, Coleman aims to go one better and push for an unlikely play-off spot. Despite having one of the smallest squads in the league and the majority of the squad made up of youngsters or non-league gems, he still finds a way to be competitive.

The State of Play

“Best squad I’ve seen since I started watching in 1953”, “I suppose at the end of the day, it is a good point, but far too many times this season I have seen us get not what we deserve and it is becoming a worry.”, “A great day out and the Clayton End did Stanley proud yet again.”

As it stands, Accrington find themselves in 10th place in League One, with ten wins, six draws and ten defeats from their 26 games.

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“As we seem to have been gazumped for our prime targets it looks normal service has resumed and we will have to wait at the back of the transfer line to see who's left without a club on the 31st.”, “I think we are a striker short of being a top-six side”, “I have to agree on the goalie scenario, an experienced head would be ideal but wages are always an issue.”

Stanley sit one place and one point ahead of Town heading into the fixture on Saturday with a victory over the visitors helping the Blues jump ahead of them.

The Squad

Currently, in the Accrington squad, they have a strong selection of midfielders to choose from with new signing Rosarie Longelo adding more depth to the middle of the park.

Their weakest position looks to be their frontline with an injury to star man Bishop leaving them down to bare bones if they don’t look to strengthen.

Squad strength-wise, Accrington fans have found a little to be positive about this season, especially in the recent weeks.

“Accy still have the ability to grind out wins and we still like to make it hard for ourselves”, “We have a lot of numbers in midfield”, “Over the years under Coley, we have had strong finishes to the season.”

However, on the other hand, they have found a few things to be negative about this season.

“Don’t care what anyone says, subs are our managers weakness”, “Shows how weak we are for creative players in the squad”, “We look weak through the middle.”

Accrington Stanley 1-1 Sunderland

“[Ross] Sykes off… second yellow… first for dissent very expensive.”, “Was a definite penalty today but not getting it given was no surprise at all”, “The game has gone and so have another three points, we must learn from all of these situations next season, as we do not appear to be at the moment.”

“Excellent game of football today I thought we made Sunderland look average just wish we played it on the floor more often we look so much better only blot on the landscape was Sykes getting sent off”, “Got to say I am less than pleased with the point today.”, “Two good sides today, a point was deserved.”

A game against Sunderland is always a tough fixture, but Accrington made it harder for themselves with Ross Sykes’s sending off in the second half. However, they still came away with a richly deserved point.

Accrington Stanley 1-1 MK Dons

“My stats site says eight per cent ball possession! Eight vs 92 in the second half. Eight! You get that from throw-ins normally”, “Game spoilt by the sending off but oh what a battling performance second half with our backs to the wall. Glad to take a point in these circumstances so really well done Stanley”, “Excellent point though to be honest great defending and a touch of good luck earned a point that could be crucial at the season end.”

“The rules are simple. It was a red card as much as it grieves me to say it. I think [Liam] Coyle's just got too much of an edge and that's been coming. That said awesome display for an hour - not for the purists but enjoyed that”, “Come on Stanley, just two more corners from any team and I get a nice wee divvy”, “Good outcome with 10 men, good result.”

Before the Sunderland game, Accrington entertained fellow play-off chasers MK Dons and again found themselves down to 10 men after Coyle’s straight red card. Not to be deterred, they once again found a way to leave with a point.


“Should imagine there is plenty of interest in Bishop, Savin and Sykes”, “Savin has pulled off three good saves”, “Savin head and shoulders above, man of the match. We played well in patches, can't understand Savin not starting if fit and being used as a sub.”

player imageToby Savin

Young goalkeeper Savin was brought back into the side for the hosting of Town back in October and has been their number one ever since. With loanee James Trafford moving on to Bolton, and making his debut for the Trotters against Town last week, he’ll look to hold that shirt down for the rest of the season.

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“Only blot on the landscape was Sykes getting sent off”, “Sykes in particular was very aggressive. Did think some lads played out their skins today, hope the scouts were not in attendance!”, “Ross was immense today! He won so many headers, played some good passes out of defence and made a couple of superb blocks to prevent goals.”

An ever-present for the majority of the season, Sykes has featured in the last 14 league games for Accrington and has been a key man in their three-man defence.

“Could be an excellent signing!”, “Another giant, 6ft 5ins, we must be the biggest side in the division and signed on for a fee. Centre-back, maybe can play left-back we will have to see welcome Jay”, “Welcome to Jay Rich-Baghuelou.”

One of two players snapped up in January by Coleman, young defender Baghuelou departed Crystal Palace for the Wham Stadium to look for first-team football. His height and strength should see him in good stead this season.

“Coleman says he has a few targets, striker a must for me and possibly left-back although [Yeboah] Amankwah played well in that position yesterday”, “Amankwah was frankly awful ripped apart time and again by a young player with no right foot”, “Hope Amankwah does well.”

Amankwah, on loan from Man City, started the season behind a couple of defenders, but has found his way back into the side over the last few months. With Sam Sherring being recalled and subsequently sent to Cambridge United, Amankwah will be looking to take his place

“Defence playing well again even with a makeshift left back. [Mitch] Clark again playing well”, “The inclusion of Mitch Clark at right-back worked particularly well”, “Every one played their part especially Clark coming in from the cold looked good keep playing on the floor lads and you’ll win more than you lose.”

Comfortable at both full-back and wing-back, Clark has had two separate spells this season in the first team, but only lasting a few games. Currently on a four-game spell of starting with one goal to his name.


“The result should have been different if [Harry] Pell and [Harvey] Rodgers had put their headed efforts away as they should have done”, “Playing three at the back is OK if you have wing-backs who are good at it, [Sean] McConville by his own admission hated it last season it worked pretty well with Rodgers and [Joe] Pritchard in the roles for me”, “Hope to see him fit, well and flying down the wings sooner, rather than later.”

One of the standout youngsters last season, Rodgers started the season at both right midfield and covering in the backline. Had spent a while out with injury before returning in November.

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“Personally, I prefer Rodgers even though he is good in the back three as the right-sided wing-back”, “Harvey Rodgers is the other option because last season he grew into the role”, “Harvey Rodgers in the side gives a better balance.”

After recovering from injury, Rodgers started nine straight games before picking up another injury in the last month. Has been pushed to the bench recently.


“Didn't need the silly foul either as [Michael] Nottingham had it covered”, “Savin and I think Nottingham were too busy looking at the official, then concentrating on where the ball was terrible defending”, “Goal-saving clearance from Nottingham.”

An ever-present for Accrington this season, Nottingham has missed only one game this season and that was in the Carabao Cup. Very likely to feature on Saturday.

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“My comment related to the fact Nottingham made a mistake giving the ball to their lad which resulted in the attempt at a clearance”, “One giving Nottingham the perfect headed goal”, “Michael Nottingham was truly outstanding once again.”

Currently on five goals for the season, Nottingham will be looking to add to his tally over the next few games.


“Bishop, McConville and [Ethan] Hamilton in particular did a lot of running without the ball and were very effective in keeping our opponents at bay”, “Hamilton in midfield never got a grip on the game”, “Hamilton assist sounds like he is having a good game.”

Picked up late in the summer window, Hamilton has been a key member of the Accrington midfield this season, covering across multiple positions.

“Good to see [Matt] Butcher back”, “We are in desperate need of the creativity of Pritchard and Butcher and I wish we would go back to a back four”, “Butcher I think has given the ball away every pass big improvement needed second half.”

player imageMatt Butcher

Linked with the club back in the summer window, Butcher has been impressive in the middle of the park this year. Currently has four goals and two assists to his name and has recently returned after a long injury absence.

“Coyle off straight red, foot connected with thigh”, “[Tommy] Leigh is getting better each time he plays, a real prospect and he and young Coyle were very effective in midfield”, “Coyle should have started adds bite into the middle.”

Another who has been in and out of the side this season, young midfielder Coyle had been heavily used by Accrington in the last few months before his straight red card against MK Dons.

“I know Leigh is good but playing in two positions may be expecting too much”, “Leigh is a must starter for me”, “So pleased to see Tommy back on the field. A young kid from nowhere, but such a prospect! Do not know who found this kid, but well done.”

Like Coyle, Leigh was signed in the summer to add youthfulness to the midfield. Has looked impressive in the early stages since his jump from non-league.

“Midfield, which is fast becoming our best department, has captain [Seamus] Conneely, who when fit has a lot of competition now for his place”, “Well done the three U23s in the squad today, will be needed with Conneely out for at least a month”, “Conneely virtual all on his own being pressed into back-pedalling.”

Club captain Conneely - sent off in the Blues’ 2-1 win at the Wham Stadium in February last year although with the red card later rescinded - missed the first few months of the season and hasn’t featured in the last five games. It’s not known when he will be returning.

“Left winger Rosaire Longelo, 22-years-old undisclosed fee from Newcastle United welcome to the reds, think I have spelled his name correctly”, “Starting for the reserves at Bolton this afternoon”, “Rosaire Longelo was sensational on the right.”

The second player to be signed by Coleman in this window, Longelo has left Newcastle to look for first-team football, but has a fair amount of competition ahead of him. However, is a very bright prospect.

“Keen to strengthen in the offensive area especially with the continued absence of Pritchard, would have thought one might be a keeper”, “I believe Pritchard could make the bench”, “Coley appears really sheepish and reluctant to even discuss Pritchard whenever his name is raised during interviews.”

It’s been a tough season for Pritchard, who has been dealing with an injury for the majority of the campaign. Was one of their man weapons last season, but hasn’t featured since August.

“He is a luxury to have in the side in the same way that [John] O'Sullivan is a luxury”, “There's no point in having McConville and O'Sullivan on the pitch if they can barely get into the opposition's half”, “Thought Pell and O'Sullivan were poor.”

Recently back in the side after a couple of months of being in and out of the squad, O’Sullivan hasn’t yet found the back of the net in the league. Will be looking to do so on Saturday.


“Leigh and McConville are starters also”, “Pleased for Sean to find the back of the net”, “At least McConville put a few decent set pieces in, the rest was forgettable.”

With Pritchard out with injury, McConville has been the key contributor to the first team this season, providing seven assists already for the campaign. Ranking first for key passes by quite a distance, McConville will be key for Stanley on Saturday.

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“Sean is not a wing-back, never has been and never will be!”, “Agree but did feel let down when he came on with gloves on in second half, come on Sean - you're a Northerner”, “McConville and Conneely look one-paced devoid of any ideas.”

Looks to be getting better with age, McConville has turned back the clock this season with his displays on the left-hand side of the pitch. His fitness will determine Accrington’s ability going forward this season.

Centre Midfielder

“Pell making a nuisance of himself and having chances but we are not scoring when we are on top”, “Neither he or Pell were close enough or in the right areas to feed off Colby”, “Let's hope it was just cramp that forced Harry off yesterday. My view from following the game at home was that he had another good game and could have scored at least two.”

Summer signing Pell wasn’t expected to be the leading man in the midfield for Accy, but has been impressive for his new side. Currently has seven goals for the season.

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“I think he is good when things are going well and poor when they are not”, “Needs to stop getting all these cautions for me. Spoils him for me”, “Don't think Harry has been at his best for the last two games but, who's to say he isn't carrying a knock/injury. I think he is a good signing at our level and someone who will always give us 110 per cent.”

Was used as a makeshift striker during the previous game between the two sides and scored in that game. Started the last game against Sunderland having come off the bench in the previous three.


“More than likely not see him in a Stanley shirt again - after his injury - but wish him all the best for today and the rest of his career”, “[Joel] Mumbongo has a serious knee ligament damage and could be out for season”, “Mumbongo couldn’t score in a brothel.”

On loan for the season from Burnley, Mumbongo hasn’t featured in the last six games after picking up his injury. Looks to be a serious one and he might be sent back to his parent club. With Jovan Malcolm having been recalled by West Brom, Stanley are down to a few options.


“First third was eve with Stanley making the brighter start and getting a great headed goal by Colby”, “Thought Malcolm is also proving a useful player, if only he and Bishop could play just a bit closer together”, “See if Bishop waves goodbye at the end or anyone else for that matter, is usually a clue.”

player imageColby Bishop

Leading striker Bishop has been the main man for Accrington this season, with Dion Charles departing for Bolton early in the window after not featuring for the whole season. Currently sat on eight goals for the year.

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“it’s obvious to me what’s wrong, we should be playing with two up front. Even in a poor display there’s more chance of scoring. Feel sorry for Bishop, the lad gets called by many when he’s on his own”, “Bishop isolated”, “Back to one up front at home says it all to me Bishop ineffective on his own. Saw the line-up and stayed at home like a lot of others.”

If he goes down with an injury, then Accrington will be a spot of bother. Scored against Ipswich back in the October fixture to level the fixture after Bonne’s goal.

Accrington Stanley Fans on ITFC

“Kayden Jackson not getting a game at Ipswich, not a bad replacement on a free”, “Paul Cook has been sacked by Ipswich Town. I didn’t think it would be too long going by their results”, “Just to round off a very good day for Stanley comes the news that our friend Mr Cook has been 'relieved of his duties' at Ipswich. When they appointed him, I gave him till Christmas, he didn't even get quite that far.”

Last Time Out – Accrington Stanley 2-1 Ipswich Town

“That's all they did Ipswich pass it around no threat at all we gifted them a goal and from half-time played them off the park”, “Both teams offered very little in the first half but in the second, wow - we were all over them and it was a much improved spectacle”, “The second half was totally different in that we really took the game to Ipswich with much better pressing play and aggression.”

“We pushed, harried and bullied Ipswich’s more skilful players off the park, especially second half”, “Have to agree with Cook listening to his post-match interview we were the better team from the first minute to the last won every second ball more desire to win and thoroughly deserved the victory”, “We can take some real positives from this match and go forward with a good feeling about matches coming up in the near future.”

Back in October, Ipswich headed to Accrington after thumping Doncaster Rovers at home 6-0. Macauley Bonne scored the opener for Ipswich, looking to make it back-to-back wins for the first time in the season. However, it fell apart in the second half with Accrington winning 2-1.


The only forum for an Accrington Stanley fan is the Accrington Web, a comprehensive area for all Accrington fans to dive into a discuss all aspects of the club.

Photo: Action Images

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