John Coleman doesn’t expect a Carabao Cup tie with Preston North End to have any impact on tonight’s friendly between the sides at the Wham Stadium.

The Reds host the Championship outfit as they continue their warm up campaign just weeks after being paired together in the first round of the EFL’s cup competition.

But the Stanley manager isn’t worrying about what is to come and is more interested about his players testing themselves against second tier opposition.

“It’s just a freak of the way the fixtures have come out that we play them again in the cup but that’s not a problem for me,” he said. “We’ve got players who are trying to impress and places are up for grabs.

“We want to close the gap on them even further. I think that with a good start to the season we have every chance of challenging to get into League One and so Preston will be a good benchmark for us.

“We want to win the game because we want to get used to winning football matches and the players have to buy into that. They should be winners and sometimes we let ourselves down a little on that score. Hopefully that won’t happen too many times this season.

“There are lots of different aspects you have to look at in pre-season and fitness is one of them but so is shape and familiarity and getting used to the players around you again. When all’s said and done the object of a game of football is to try to win the game and we need to do that and ultimately win games.”

Coleman is looking for an improvement from his team in tonight’s game, which kicks off at 7:30pm, after being unhappy with the display against Everton’s under 23s at the weekend.

He remains confident that they will be ready come the start of the League Two season though.

“Everyone knows their jobs and we haven’t had too much integration to do so we’re just looking to hit the ground running,” he explained. “We’ll hope to get a little fitter and a little better because we want to peak for 5th August.

“We want to increase the fitness levels and maybe give players a little longer on the pitch and develop our style of play a little more. It’d be nice if we could win the game in the process too.”