Assistant manager Jimmy Bell has called tomorrow’s League One trip to Gillingham ‘massive’ as the Reds look to get back to winning ways.
Stanley have dropped to 15th place in the table and Bell knows the Reds, who have not won in the league since beating Shrewsbury on Boxing Day, need to get one over the Gills, who are four points behind John Coleman’s side.
Gillingham beat Stanley on the opening day of the League One season at the Wham Stadium and Bell knows the Reds need to start scoring goals.
“This is a lot bigger than Derby in the FA Cup,” said Bell. “This is a massive game for us, it’s about getting away from the bottom four as quickly as we can.
“We do not want to get drawn into a relegation battle so this is a big game in terms of that.
“When they played us at the start of the season, I think Gillingham deserved the win. They had pace and power and did well against us.
“But we need to start scoring goals. It’s seven out of the last 10 league games where we haven’t scored and we have got to find our shooting boots, hitting the target more regularly and getting into good positions.
“I am sure with the calibre of players we have here we will turn it around sooner rather than later but it is a problem at the moment and if you do not score, you do not win.
“We have competition for places up front with the addition of Luke Armstrong and Paul Smyth and the four up front will all push each other.
“But it’s not just about those four, Mark Hughes, Ross Sykes and Callum Johnson have all had chances as well.
“I have noticed in this league that a lot more goals are scored from set-pieces, there are a higher percentage, and that means the defenders can play a big part in scoring goals as well.”
Stanley will be without Dan Barlaser and Sam Finley tomorrow, with both midfielders suspended.
“They have been our first two central midfielders in recent games but we have Seamus Conneely, who was outstanding against Derby, and Scott Brown as well as Liam Nolan who has come back from a strong spell at Salford so we have players who can easily slot in.”