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Crewe Preview

Andy Phillips looks ahead to Saturday's Sky Bet League Two fixture.

1 September 2017

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With the side not having won in League Two since the opening day, the Town boss will know the importance of getting a result against the Alex and getting a first three points at Blundell Park on the board. 

The 1-1 draw against Doncaster Rovers in the Checktrade Trophy in midweek brought with it some more positives after the side came back from 2-0 down against Wycombe Wanderers before the Hatters eventually took advantage of the side being down to ten men, so it will be hoped that those positives can be used to good effect.  

Matt and Woolford could make debuts

Town could hand debuts to new loan striker Jamille Matt and deadline day signing Martyn Woolford after they both joined the club earlier in the week but it remains to be seen if they start the game with the duo not having played much football so far this season.

On the injury front, Scott Vernon could come back into contention whilst Akwasi Asante and Jamey Osborne remain sidelined for the foreseeable future.

Crewe have several injury problems to contend with, and striker Chris Porter and defenders Michael Raynes and Perry Ng are all serious doubts. Their fellow centre back George Ray and midfielder James Jones will miss out, but new loan signings Conor Grant and Sam Stubbs could be in line for their first appearances for the club.

A good start for Crewe

Crewe have begun the season well under David Artell and come into the fixture still unbeaten in the league after two wins and two draws, the latest being the 1-0 win at local rivals Port Vale last weekend.

Artell took over at the Alexandra Stadium in January, continuing the club's fine tradition of promoting players and staff from within after three years with the academy.

The former defender managed to guide Crewe to safety after they looked in trouble at the turn of the year, eventually finishing 17th and he then set about assembling a squad to challenge the upper echeleons of the league.

Experienced striker Chris Porter came in and scored two goals on his debut in the opening day 2-2 draw with Mansfield Town and could form a menacing partnership with last season's top scorer Chris Dagnall, whilst academy graduate George Cooper also hit double figures from midfield last campaign so there is a definite goal threat there.

Town look to avenge double last season

Town don't have the best recent record against Crewe so will certainly be looking to rectify that, and the Alex did the double over the Mariners last campaign.

The first of those fixtures came at Blundell Park in September and came away with a 2-0 win thanks to goals from George Cooper and James Jones.

Town fans will then certainly want to forget about the reverse fixture, which saw Crewe coming away with a 5-0 victory thanks to braces from the aforementioned Cooper and Chris Dagnall as well as a a Callum Cooke strike. 

Managers in summary

Russell Slade: ''It’s as important as the last one, and as important as the one after Crewe. They’re all important and it’s another opportunity to seize. It’s a challenge and they’re a team that have obviously started the season, in terms of results, better than ourselves but we still go in there believing in what we’re about, and we’re hopeful of getting a result.''

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