Accrington Stanley boss John Coleman questions players' 'appetite'

John Coleman
Accrington reached the play-offs under John Coleman in 2016 but lost to AFC Wimbledon

Never let Accrington Stanley boss John Coleman hear you say that pre-season matches are meaningless.

As punishment for a 3-3 draw against Everton's under-23 side, which he labelled "unacceptable", players were told to come in for training on their day off.

"It would have cost them two days off if they had lost the game." Coleman told BBC Radio Lancashire, following the draw at the Crown Ground.

"They are not showing the appetite I want to see. We want to be successful this season and you're not going to be a success when you concede three goals, for a start."

Everton under-23s are defending champions of the reserve league, known as 'Premier League 2', beating academy sides from the likes of Tottenham, Manchester City and Manchester United last season.

But Accrington's inability to beat them in what was supposed to be a friendly encounter to prepare for the upcoming season did not impress Colman, who does not seem to entertain the notion that pre-season results mean very little.

"I don't think there's ever a good time to make mistakes," the 54-year-old said. "You can say it's less damaging because there's no points at stake but you've got to start winning games."

Coleman rejoined Accy in 2014 and guided them to a 13th-place finish last season, just five points short of a play off spot.

He previously managed Stanley for 12-and-a-half years between 1999 and 2012, and led the club from the Northern Premier League First Division to the Football League in 2006.

Accrington are next in pre-season action against Championship club Preston North End on Wednesday and Coleman expects to see an improvement.

"There's a lot of work to be done on the training ground and the players have been left with no uncertain terms," he added.

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