Scout report: How Accrington Stanley are defying the odds and why Sunderland must be wary of them

Sunderland will make the trip to Accrington Stanley this weekend - but what should we expect from Saturday's opponents?

Friday, 7th December 2018, 11:03 am
Updated Friday, 7th December 2018, 11:30 am
John Coleman led Accrington Stanley to League One last campaign.

Jon Coleman's side surprised many last season by winning the League Two title to gain promotion to the third tier.

A sell-out crowd will be present at the Wham Stadium, after both Sunderland and Accrington sold their full allocations.

We take a closer look at tomorrow's opponents and what Jack Ross' side should expect from them.

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What system will Accrington play?

Stanley like to play with two banks of four which gives them a solid base to build from.

Joint top scorer Billy Kee has missed just one league game this season and is vital to the side's attack.

The 28-year-old forward has played with a fellow striker in a 4-4-2 formation, or with a playmaker just behind him in a 4-4-1-1 system.

Who are Accrington's key players?

Kee was the League Two top scorer last season as his 25 league goals helped Stanley claim the division title.

The forward has scored six times in League One this campaign, seven in all competitions, but hasn't scored in his last six league outings.

Sean McConville has also scored seven goals in all competitions this term and will pose a threat from the left flank.

Do Accrington have any injury worries?

Stanley have a full bill of heath ahead of the game at the Wham Stadium.

Forward Andy Mangan, 32, and young defender Harvey Rodgers, 22, are back after injuries.

Both have made just a handful of appearances this campaign though.

Who is Accrington's manager and what can we expect from them?

Born in Liverpool, Coleman managed Accrington for 13 years between 1999 and 2002 before returning for a second spell in 2014.

After losing in the League Two play-offs in the 2015/16 season, Coleman led the club to promotion two years later.

Accrington finished top of the table with 93 points last campaign, five points clear of Luton Town in second.

It meant Accrington were promoted to the third tier for the first time in the clubs' history.

What form have Accrington been in?

Last season it was reported that Accrington were working on a wage budget of just £15,000 a week, thought to be the joint-lowest in the Football League.

At the start of this campaign, Coleman's side continued to defy the odds and rose as high as fourth following a 1-0 win at Peterborough in October.

Accrington lost just two of their first 14 league fixtures before a barren run of six league games without a win saw them slip out of the top six.

Coleman will hope last weekend’s victory over Cheltenham in the FA Cup can revive their season.

League form: LDDLLL