Crawley Town are sitting in 12th place in League 2. They had been on a poor run of form until their recent outings produced a 2-0 away win at Bradford followed by a 1-0 home victory against Cheltenham. They were just 3 points away from a play-off place until a 2-0 away loss on Tuesday at Newport all but dashed their hopes of a play-off place. With 3 games to play and 6 points adrift of 7th place Newport it looks as though Crawley must settle for a mid-table finish.
Crawley’s manager, John Yems, has got something of an eye for footballing talent. Their star striker in the first half of the season was Max Watters. Watters scoring form in League 2 was only outdone by Cambridge’s Paul Mullin. This form prompted Cardiff City to pay £1 million for him in the January transfer window. However, they have Tom Nicholls who has stepped into the gap left by Watters’ departure and who has now matched Watters’ scoring record with 15 goals so far this season. Rovers fans may remember Nicholls. His goals at The New Lawn in the reverse fixture meant Crawley left Gloucestershire with all 3 points. Nicholls scored in the 16th and 79th minutes, either side of a Jake Young goal on 50 minutes.
Tom Nicholls already has 2 goals against Rovers this season.
A curious bit of Crawley news this season has been their signing of ex-TOWIE star Mark Wright. 33 year old Wright played 9 games for Crawley in the 2006/07 season and scored once but has always wanted to play for a club at EFL level, apparently. His brother Josh plays for Leyton Orient, who Crawley face in December.
Like FGR, Crawley are relative new-comers to the EFL. They achieved promotion to League 2 for the first time in 2011. They achieved promotion in their first season in League 2 and spent 3 seasons in League 1 before dropping back to League 2 in 2015.
Crawley have been ringing the managerial changes in recent years. Steve Evans (now the Gillingham manager) was in charge for 5 years until 2012. Since then, Crawley have had 10 managers in 8 years (including Dean Saunders and Harry Kewell, the latter now in charge at Oldham). Current boss, John Yems, has been their manager for just over a year.
Other than the loss in December, Rovers’ record against Crawley in the last 3 years has been good – 4 wins and 2 draws and 1 loss in their seven encounters. But Crawley do tend to perform well at home. Tranmere, Cambridge Morecambe Exeter and Salford have all suffered losses at the People’s Pension Stadium this season.