Accrington Stanley (a): Michael Appleton Press Conference | Vital Football

Accrington Stanley (a): Michael Appleton Press Conference

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Michael Appleton outlined the difficulties of running with a small squad, carrying injuries and coping with a heavy games schedule ahead of the match versus Accrington tomorrow:

Portsmouth - With hindsight the result was understandable having had to make so many changes for that match. Since then though Imps have had a couple of good cup results. Furthermore MA has been able to get a number of training sessions done with the squad. It's been 'really good stuff", with lots of detail and reminders of the pre-season work.

Players on International Duty - "It's part and parcel of the job" - MA on the frustration of losing players to international duty. He recognised it is a double edged sword as it is great for the players to represent their country. For instance he is delighted for Brennan Johnson and his family with the player getting the first of probably many full caps.

There is always the danger of players returning with an issue and MA has received a report that Zack Elbouzedi has a hamstring injury but BJ and Antony Scully are ok. Additionally those players have missed out on the value of the aforementioned training sessions at club level.

Brennan Johnson and Nottingham Forest - Of course the reality is that if Brennan does well he could go back to Forest but in effect that means he has done well for Lincoln. The club make plans for that possibility albeit it is not always easy for a club of 'our' size to replace quality which at times is at another level.

However the biggest issue last year was the timing of Tyler Walker's recall coming right at the end of January. If Brennan does go back it will be earlier in the month thereby affording more time to adjust and replace.

Then again it is better for Brennan to be getting games at this time so if Forest are "thinking along the same lines" as MA, the Imps are in the best position to do that.

Accrington - "I'm a little bit jealous if I'm being honest", was MA's view of the resources available to John Coleman. He noted that Accrington had a squad of more than thirty at his disposal. MA highlighted what a fantastic job JC does at Accrington with them being another of those teams that benefit of playing without fear or expectation. They have a real togetherness, "us against the world" attitude.

When recalling the game at Accrington last season MA pointedly remarked, " not a sign of a group that's got a particularly strong mentality" having lost the game in spite of leading three times. MA accepted that that you may give up a lead once or twice but this is a different group and he would be bitterly disappointed if that happened again.

Squad Demands and Injury Situation - The players on international duty have only returned today but subject to Covid clearance they are available for selection. Liam Bridcutt has responded well to the midweek game and it is a bonus that he is fit to play. Lewis Montsma is training and may be in a position to make the squad.

MA surveyed the prospect of 10 games in 30 days whilst observing, "we need as many bodies as we possibly can", adding the situation wasn't helped by the three away games this week and the possibility that he won't be able to fill the bench at Accrington. Although a little daunting and possibly "super difficult" MA couldn't help feeling it was a really exciting challenge as there is nothing better than playing.

On the immediate implementation of the 5 substitutes rule MA couldn't help grinning and remarking, "It's going to happen..... 5 subs at half time".
MA was really interested to see which manager suffering a bad half would be the first to make 5 changes at the interval.

MA felt the new rule would definitely help the better resourced clubs but that didn't deflect from the fact that The Imps must ensure they use the change as best as they possibly can.