Tomorrow sees the Grecians host John Coleman's Accrington side as 3rd meets 4th in League Two. Man behind the Mask, Dan Gottschalk takes a look at City's opponents.
Stanley come in to the game unbeaten in five matches in what promises to be a stern test for Exeter. City will be looking to close the gap to the automatic play-off places with a win ahead of a second round FA Cup tie against Forest Green Rovers next weekend.
Accrington are partaking in their 11th consecutive season in League Two this season after returning to the football league in 2006 from a 44 year absence. Known to fans as 'the club that wouldn't die', Accrington have had more than their fair share of ups and downs over the years.
In 1962, Accrington Stanley FC having to resign their position from the football league midway through the season due to financial difficulties, ending the league status that the club had boasted since 1921. Accrington was disbanded in 1966, going into liquidation, before eventually being reformed as the Accrington Stanley we know today in 1968.
Currently in his second spell in charge of Stanley, manager John Coleman holds the record for being their longest serving boss from his time with the club between 1999 and 2012, being the third longest serving manager in the football league at the time behind only Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.
Season in Focus
Last season, Stanley finished the league in 13th positon, despite an impressive 15 game unbeaten run between February and April which made them surprise, late play-off contenders.
This season, Accrington have seen a rise in their fortunes, currently sitting in 3rd with 19 games played. Coleman has built a stable squad since his return to Stanley in 2014, the headline signing being Billy Kee from Scunthorpe in 2015. The prolific striker has scored 11 goals so far this season and will be hoping to add to his tally as Stanley push for promotion to League One.
Ones to Watch
Sitting inside the automatic promotion places, Accrington are a dangerous outfit this term and even more so away from home, losing just twice on their travels so far. Danger man Billy Kee is the obvious goal scoring threat with 10 league goals and 5 assists to his name already this season. Accrington’s threat isn’t just confined to Kee however, young forward Kayden Jackson is a clinical striker who has scored 7 goals from just 15 league games in his first season for the club.
Accrington have been able to match their strength up top with a solid defence, conceding just 20 times in 19 games, the 5th best defence in the league. Crucial to this form is Goalkeeper Aaron Chapman. At a staggering 6ft8, Chapman commands his goalmouth with some presence having worked his way up to League 2 having starting his career at non-league Belper Town.
Last Time Out
The last time Stanley visited SJP was in March this year, John Coleman’s side taking all three points with a 2-0 win on the day. Coming into the game in the middle of an impressive unbeaten run, the visitors took the lead through Shay McCartan early on in the game, finding the net from a free kick before right-back Matty Pearson struck home from a corner with just twenty minutes left on the clock.
The Grecians didn’t take long to bounce back from the loss however, beating Cheltenham in a comprehensive 3-0 victory at SJP just three days later, setting the team up for a run of games that would end in a play-off final trip to Wembley.
Tickets for the game are still available for purchase via reception, online or over the phone (01392 411 243) and will also be available on the gate for a 3pm kick off.