Accrington Stanley To Reduce Squad Size

Accrington Stanley have become the latest EFL side to announce their retained list ahead of next season. They also confirmed that there will be a reduction in their squad size.

Accrington Stanley To Reduce Squad Size

Fighting Against the Odds

Stanley, of League One, has been one of the recent success stories of English Football. In 2000, the club were playing in the Unibond Premier Division. By 2006, they had gained several promotions to earn Accrington a place back in the Football League.

An “old” Accrington Stanley were previously a member of the EFL. However, the club were forced to resign from the league in 1962, due to financial difficulties. Soon after, the club were wound-up and the current Accrington Stanley were formed in 1968.

Accrington Stanley Squad Cutbacks

The 2018/19 season was the new Stanley’s best-ever finish to an EFL season. They ended their League One campaign in 14th, having won promotion the previous season. They were deemed to have finished 17th in this year’s COVID-19 aborted season.

The 2019/20 season saw manager John Coleman work with his largest squad to date. However, for a club of Accrington’s size, it appears that the numbers were too great.

Confirming his decision to the Official Accrington Stanley website, Coleman said: “We will be working with a much smaller squad.”

This will mean that Ozzy Zanzala, Lewis Doyle, Lewis Gilboy, Alex O’Neill, Andrew Scott and Matty Williams are released.

Already, Dimi Evtimov, Phil Edwards, Zaine Francis-Angol, Wilson Carvalho and Erico De Sousa have departed Stanley.

Few Surprises

Arguably, there are only two real surprise names on the list of players not staying.

The first is goalkeeper Dimitar Evtimov, who joined Accrington in January 2019. He immediately became their regular goalkeeper throughout 2019. This included 21 appearances during the first half of the 2019/20 season. However, he lost place in January 2020, when Stanley signed Joe Bursik on loan from Stoke City.

Evtimov’s time at Accrington was not without controversy. The Bulgarian was sent-off twice during his first nine appearances for Accrington. His first sending off was for his reaction to alleged crowd abuse in a match against Blackpool. Evtimov believed a bottle had been thrown at him from the crowd; instinctively, he threw it back. This led to his sending-off, thereby causing a heated exchange between Coleman and Blackpool’s then assistant-manager, Gary Brabin.

Should They Have Kept Him?

The other surprise name not being retained by Stanley is Zanzala. The striker scored eight league and cup goals last season from 28 appearances. Although, less half of his appearance total was as a starter.

Coleman admits that was “a difficult decision” to release Zanzala. He said: “We could have kept Ozzy another season,” said Coleman.

“But he is getting to the crossroads of his career where he needs to be playing regular football and we respect that. Ozzy is a great lad.”

Meanwhile, Seamus Conneely has signed a new two-year deal with Accrington. Options have also been taken on defenders Callum Johnson, Ben Barclay, Mark Hughes, Joe Maguire, Harvey Rodgers and Harry Perritt. Niall Watson could also yet remain, as he has been offered a new contact.

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