Friday, April 22, 2005

Bulls could go second

The final day of the Conference League season, tomorrow afternoon, will see both Hereford United and Accrington Stanley trying to push themselves as far up the table as possible. The Bulls will be eager to secure second place but will have to hope that Carlisle falter at home to Exeter in order to do so. Accrington cannot make the play offs following their home draw against Aldershot in the week, so perhaps this game means less to them.

The sides will be fairly familiar with each other as they have already met three times this campaign, including twice in the Trophy. The Conference fixture early in the season resulted in a 2-1 home win for Stanley in front of Sky TV cameras with an early and late goal being seperated by David Brown's goal. David Brown is now a member of the Accrington squad and will no doubt be eager to put one past his old club.

Stanley manager John Coleman will have Ged Brannan back from suspension but defender Peter Cavanagh (leg) is a doubt, while midfielder Matt O'Neill has returned to Burnley following the end of his loan spell.

Tony James is training with the Hereford squad once again but is short of match fitness so it is thought that he will not play much, if any, of the game although a short spell may aid his comeback. However, when he does return to fitness he, despite being the club captain, will have a difficult task in budging Andy Tretton or Tamika Mkandawire out of the side as they have formed an excellent partnership at the back for the Bulls.

Graham Turner will have to make the decision whether to play a lesser side so as not to risk any injuries with the massive play off ties approaching, although there is a nine day break between the end of the league season to the play off first leg date. If he does several players will be looking to get a run out to impress including on loan striker Leroy Williams. However, Turner also have the option to stick to as strong a side as he can manage and push for the second place finish.

A relatively large crowd is expected at Edgar Street as Accrington have put on free coach travel for fans going to Hereford but these numbers may have been dented because Stanley cannot make the top five any more. However a good turn is expected from the home supporters for the last league game at Edgar Street for this season and because play off tickets go on sale from 12 noon, although some may choose to keep their cash for the play off matches.