Crewe Alexandra FC meeting the opposition.
After there being a time of loud criticism from Tranmere fans, all shouts seem to have gone with back to back wins against Doncaster Rovers and AFC Barrow ahead of the January transfer window opening.
The Whites start the new year, three points off the play-offs, with a trip to Gresty Road where they will come up against a side they have beaten two times already this campaign.
Crewe Alexandra are in a poor run of form, losing their last outing 3-0 to Carlisle United and there are growing fears of successive relegations.
Thus, Rovers have a good chance of winning all of their festive fixtures.
Ahead of the game, I spoke to the Crewe podcast ‘The Railwaymen’ who gave their thoughts regarding the current on and off pitch matters.
After finishing 24th in League One last season, Crewe are currently positioned 17th in League Two and have lost their last four matches. How would you describe the campaign so far? Where are things going wrong?
The campaign started off well, 2 wins from 2, and it has descended ever since. You just keep hoping the last game could be rock bottom, but Crewe, at the moment, seem to have new depths, hopefully Thursday’s game against Carlisle was the end of the slump, but i wouldn’t bet on it.
How has last summer’s recruitment fared, players such as Courtney Baker-Richardson and Charlie Colkett were brought in, and who should the club be looking at signing in January?
The signings have been a mixed bag. CBR was a great signing, but is now looking like he’s out for a while. We have a great goalie, on loan from Arsenal, Okonkwo, who will never play in League Two again, for a long time. The others are middling at best. Colkett has just returned from an injury that has kept him out for a long time, so it’s too early really to tell. Others such as Conor Thomas seem to be going backwards in terms of what they bring to the team. The loans other than Okonkwo will probably be gone by January.
Former Academy manager Lee Bell was appointed to the first team role on December 1st following the dismissal of Alex Morris. What are your thoughts on Bell, his playing style and his relationship with fans?
I really hope he does well, both for the club I support, and for himself as he’s a great guy. The club has a ‘rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic feeling about it at the moment’. As he swapped places with Alex Morris in early November. That, along with the current form is causing some disconnect between the club and the fans at the moment.
Charles Grant is The Alex’s Chairman. Thoughts on him, what would you like to have changed at the club?
Lots of people’s answer to that would be ‘a new chairman’. I think, for me, for a start, I would like to see an acknowledgment that the new boards time in charge hasn’t gone as well as they hoped, planned for or accepted (at least not to us, as fans) and a real showing of a plan of what they are going to do to fix the mess the club is currently in.
Summer signing Baker-Richardson is the top scorer with seven in sixteen games. How would you describe his playing style and who are the team’s other key players to watch?
Well, CBR won’t be playing. Since he’s been out injured I can best describe the style as run around a bit, try and stop the other team from scoring, and run around a bit more. There is little to no evidence of any style; no width, no long balls, no playing through the middle, no link up play. It’s dire.
Where will the key battles be played out on New Year’s Day?
Between your strikers and our defence. There won’t be much to do for your defenders.
Looking at social media comments after the 3-0 home defeat to Carlisle United on Thursday night there were some saying that relegation could be a possibility. What would your thoughts be on that?
Any one that doesn’t think Crewe are in a relegation battle has either over indulged on Christmas spirit or has their head firmly in the sand.
Score prediction? The last time the two teams met was on October 18th as Rovers won 1-0 with a goal from Elliott Nevitt, a few days after the reverse game at Prenton Park which The Whites won 3-0.
Crewe won’t score. Tranmere will score as many as they want until they shut up shop, and start resting players. 0-2.
Thoughts on Tranmere? Where do you see them finishing in May?
If I’m honest the game at your place was one of the only games I’ve missed this season, so I’m not too sure. Looking at the table I’d say you might sneak a play off place, but I’d be surprised.
The view from the away stand at Crewe Alexandra’s Gresty Road. Tranmere’s last game here was on October 18th as Elliott Nevitt scored the only goal in Papa John’s Trophy action.