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By ESPN Staff

Accrington face damaging points deduction

Accrington Stanley chief executive Rob Heys insists the club are 'optimistic of a satisfactory outcome' after being charged with fielding unregistered players.

The charges relate to Stanley fielding two unregistered players in three matches with Preston youngster Chris McGrail, who was at the club on work experience, understood to be one of the two.

The charges will be heard by a Football Disciplinary Commission, chaired by an independent body and with a representative from Accrington and one from the Football League, in around a month.

The commission has a full range of powers which include docking points, leaving Stanley, already battling relegation from League Two, potentially facing a crisis.

Heys is adamant Stanley will do everything possible to defend themselves.

He said: 'We've taken professional advice to help us along and they've advised us not to say too much.

'We're optimistic that we'll get a fair hearing and the outcome will be satisfactory.

'It's in the hands of the powers-that-be now and we've just got to concentrate on the last 10 games of the season.'

A points deduction would be a major blow to Stanley, who only returned to the league this season after a 44-year absence.

John Coleman's side are currently 21st in League Two, three points above second-bottom Boston.

Last season, Bury were deducted one point for fielding Sheffield United's Colin Marrison as a substitute in the 1-1 draw at Lincoln after his loan deal expired.

While the other player subject to the charge remains unidentified, McGrail came off the bench in Stanley's 3-2 win over Mansfield and the 1-1 draw with Wycombe in January.