John Coleman knows his side are there to be ‘shot at’ now they are in the third spot – but he is only looking up at Oxford.
Up until last week, Coleman admitted he still had his eye on runaway leaders Northampton but after they went up on Saturday, he is now focused on the second automatic promotion place.
With five games to go, the Reds are two points behind Michael Appleton’s side while they are two points ahead of fourth placed Bristol Rovers.
“Our motivation is now to get that second automatic promotion spot, we are now focusing on Oxford,” said Coleman.
“It’s not about staying in third, it’s about improvement and chasing down Oxford and then there are two places up for grabs and not just one.”
Coleman has told his players to try and not let nerves affect them as they finishing line gets closer.
“I have told them to embrace the thrill of being in one of the top positions in the league, this is what they have been striving for all season.
“I have told them to enjoy the thrill, the buzz and the excitement but, saying that, when I am on the bench I find it difficult to enjoy it so it’s do as I say not do as I do.”
Coleman has called tomorrow’s local derby with 19th placed Morecambe ‘the biggest game the club has been involved in’ – the Shrimps beat Stanley 1-0 in August, which was their first league win over the Reds in 10 years.
“For us, it’s a chance to take another step towards what would be a remarkable achievement for this set of players,” added Coleman.
“What we have got to guard against is that it’s a local derby, Morecambe’s season has somewhat fizzled out but they have local pride to play for and they can put a smile on the faces of their fans.
“Morecambe can pluck results out of anywhere when you least expect it so we know they will be dangerous. It is the biggest game this club has been involved in and we have to treat it as such.”
Striker Billy Kee is set to return to the squad after missing last Saturday’s victory at Luton with concussion while Huddersfield loan defender Joe Wright is back in training next week. Midfielder Matt Crooks has been at St George’s Park this week and Stanley will assess him on his return.