Date: 9th August 2008 at 2:29pm
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ALDERSHOT Vital Football caught up with Vital Accrington editor Martyn Robbinson, who kindly supplied us with his expert opinion in the lead up to the big game on Saturday.

This is what happened when Paul Thorning spoke to Martyn earlier this week:

What are your predictions and hopes for the new season?

I have read a lot of people tipping Accrington for relegation to the Conference this season, which I think is astonishing considering that there are three clubs (Luton, Bournemouth and Rotherham) starting on -17 points or more in Luton’s case. We also have a very strong squad compared to recent times this season, so I would be looking to a midtable finish and hopefully with the three teams I mentioned before being handicapped, then we can push for the Play-Offs.

Who’ve been the major ins and outs at Accrington transfer wise?

At the end of the season John Coleman released 11 players including former Burnley midfielder Graham Branch, who did have a poor season in all fairness. So far to date we have six signings in with Chris King, Colin Murdock, Jimmy Ryan, Folawiyo Onbuje, John Mullin and Jamie Clarke (on loan from Blackburn). Mullin signed on a free transfer from tranmere and is brother of Paul and will be an outstanding signing for us, as will Clarke who has finished the last two seasons as Blackburn’s Academy top scorer following serious injuries.

How has your pre-season gone?

Pre-Season has been a mixed package really for Stanley. We have experimented a lot with a lot of trialists getting a run out against lower league oppostition, which ultimately meant defeat on some occassions. The big Pre-Season games were the visit of Championship side Burnley and Premiership outfit Everton, who sent their Reserve’s both beat us 3-0 at the Fraser Eagle Stadium, but the Reds’ performances were a lot better than the scorelines promote.

How do you think your side will cope this season?

I think we will do well in the League this season if I am honest. It is all down to whether the new players can click with the squad we already had at the Fraser Eagle Stadium at the end of last season. John Miles has looked a completely different player since he returned to East Lancashire following a loan spell with MK Dons, and we are expecting big things from the Liverpudlian.

What players should we be looking out for on Saturday?

Ian Craney, Paul and John Mullin along with Miles will be the big threats to you on Saturday when you visit the Fraser Eagle Stadium. Craney rejoined Stanley last season after we sold him to Swansea, and was instantly a success when he came ‘home’, and Morecambe have since had two bids turned down, he has a hell of a shot on him. Paul and John will most likely spearhead the attack and have bags of goals in them whilst Miles will be operating down the right of midfield and can’t half get a ball into the box.

And what about any weaknesses?

Our defence yet again I am afraid. Our defence has seemed very wobbly since we came back into the Football League three seasons ago, and it has been compounded by goalkeeping errors, which again have been common in Pre-Season with Ian Dunbavin and number one Kenny Arthur conceding easy goals with the Burnley match springing to mind. But on the other hand they have looked very good at times. Bit hit and miss at the moment.

What’s your most memorable Accrington game?

Accrington Stanley vs Chester City, first game back in the Football League after 46 years! It ended in a 2-0 defeat at the Deva Stadium, but it was utterly fantastic to see the Reds’ back in the Football League, and to consider we was in the Unibond Premier just a number of years ago is a fantastic achievement.

What do you make of Aldershot’s chances this season?

Not seen too much of your summer aquisitions to be fair, but I think that the strength of your squad will keep you up and possible lead you to a top half finish, but I thought the same when Accrington came up and we have been in a relegation battle for the past two seasons and we ran away with the Conference when we was in it, so don’t get your hopes up too much.

If there was one player you could take from Aldershot to Stanley who would it be and why?

Chris Blackburn I would have to say, centre back but can play at right back and is strong and commanding, just what we need at The Fraser Eagle Stadium I have to say, so he is who I would pick.

And if there was one player from Accrington that you could send our way, who would it be and why?

I am going to have to go with Ian Dunbavin, we have a strong squad but unfortunately he is the one who is frequently left out with Kenny Arthur taking the number one shirt, so sorry Ian but I would be sending you to Aldershot Town.

And now for your score prediction for Saturday?

Accrington Stanley 1-1 Aldershot Town.