John Coleman knows the Checkatrade Trophy offers Stanley’s best chance of a Wembley spot – as tomorrow’s opponents Lincoln City showed last season.
The Imps lifted the trophy in April, after knocking Stanley out along the way at Sincil Bank, and are now in the hunt for the League Two title.
The pair meet tomorrow at the Wham Stadium (ko 7.45pm) in the knock-out stages of the competition, the last 32.
“Lincoln experienced Wembley last season and lifted the cup, they won’t want to give up their trophy lightly, that’s why I expect it to be even more competitive,” said Coleman.
“It’s going to be a tough game, it is every time you play Lincoln, certainly in recent years.
“Their management duo have produced good teams and you are always expect it to be competitive. I expect them to get promoted this season.
“It will be a feisty encounter with two good sets of footballers, trying to attack each other.”
Coleman has a number of injury worries, with striker Billy Kee coming through a late fitness test for Saturday’s FA Cup Second Round win over Cheltenham.
He praised Man of the Match Offrande Zanzala for his performance in the 3-1 victory, after coming on at the break.
“Ozzy has got a strange way of playing, and that’s not meant disrespectfully, he has an awkward gait.
“Defenders find him hard to handle when he is on form as he is wiry, quick and physically strong. He can get past people when you think he has lost the ball.
“He has got to keep learning and the more games he plays, the better he will get.”
Tickets are £10 (adults), £5 (concessions 12-17) and £2 (U12s) tomorrow night.