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Match Previews

Crawley Preview

Andy Phillips previews the visit of Harry Kewell's Red Devils to Blundell Park.

12 October 2017

Town host Crawley Town on Saturday afternoon (3pm), with the Mariners looking for two successive victories following the win at Port Vale last weekend.

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Russell Slade's side will be looking to continue the club's solid home form against Harry Kewell's side and start building a run of consistency that most sides in League Two are still trying to find this campaign.

Town almost fully fit

Town should have most players fully fit for the clash, with Scott Vernon suffering from a sickness bug earlier in the week being the only fresh concern ahead of the game. Long term absentees Sean McAllister and Jamey Osborne remain out, whilst Akwasi Asante is continuing his recovery.

Crawley have had several injury blows that have not helped their cause this season, and the latest was suffered earlier in the week when Dean Cox suffered a hamstring injury in training. Kewell's side wil also be without defender Lewis Young and Dutch striker Thomas Verheydt for  the game.   

Crawley looking for improvement 

It's been a tough start to managerial life for Harry Kewell at Crawley Town, but his side have shown improvement in recent games and have won their last two away from home.

Former Australian international Kewell surprised many when he took over at the Red Devils in the summer to replace former Chelsea youth coach Dermot Drummy, who left the club in May after a difficult second half of the season and a 19th placed finish.

The former Liverpool and Leeds United star retired in 2014 after a glittering career that saw him play a part in Liverpool's famous Champions League victory in Istanbul against AC Milan back in 2005, and spent some time since coaching Watford's U23 side prior to taking the job at Broadfield Stadium.

The Red Devils began the season with four straight losses before a 3-0 victory at Swindon Town towards the end of August, and they have been fairly difficult to beat since then. 

Kewell kept faith in most of the squad he inherited over the summer, with midfielders Mark Randall and Dannie Bulman, winger Moussa Sanoh and striker Thomas Verheydt being his main signings.

However, the club did lose last season's top scorer James Collins to Luton Town in the transfer window and will need to replace his goals somehow. It has been club captain Jimmy Smith that has been the main goalscorer so far, scoring four goals and assisting another three so far this campaign, but Kewell will surely want his strikers to start firing more regularly.

A share of the spoils last time out

The last fixture between the two sides ended in a 1-1 draw at Blundell Park back in March, where an early goal from Sam Jones was cancelled out by an equaliser from James Collins on the stroke of half time in a tight game.

Both sides also met at the Broadfield Stadium in November 2016, where Crawley came away with a 3-2 victory, whilst Town fans will also remember Crawley as the scene of the club's first game in the National League back in August 2010. 

The sides have only ever met on four occasions, with the sides both sharing one a win a piece and drawing the other two times.

Managers in summary 

Russell Slade: “It’s a big game for us. I think it’s a really big game against an improving team that have won their last two away games. That’s something we’ve not done, so we’ve got respect for them immediately when they come to us. I do feel, though, if we can somehow find a way to win on Saturday, that will firmly put is in the top half and very close to the play-offs. Everything could be a little bit better. You want perfection, you never get that in this game but that doesn’t stop you from searching for that, and we’ll be looking to improve and build on what we’ve done so far at home.''

Harry Kewell: ''It's another tough game and another long journey but one which we're confident going into after last weekend. We believe in our ability and I've kept the players working hard this week because we know we have to be consistent in our results. Russell will have done his homework, as will we, so I'm expecting another close game." 


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