Crawley Town meeting the opposition.

Tranmere had a bit of a mixed Easter, still being overseen by Ian Dawes as the club are yet to appoint the new manager, Rovers got beat by Carlisle United on the road before beating Swindon Town narrowly at Prenton Park. 

Harvey Saunders scored against Swindon, his second in four games after having a long run without a goal and Dawes’ team were made to battle for the three points in a 4-4-2 formation instead of the usually favoured midfield diamond. 

Up next stands a challenge away at Crawley Town, a club that Tranmere got another narrow win against. Jordan Turnbull struck before Dom Telford missed a penalty which could have levelled the scoreline in the last meeting btween the two sides, only six weeks ago. 

Crawley have had a poor season and are inside the relegation zone going into this one. 

Ahead of the game on Saturday afternoon Reuben Watt , Chair of the club’s supporters alliance, spoke to me and gave his thoughts on the battle to safety. 

Hi Reuben, thank you for your time answering the upcoming questions. Could I start off by asking you how long you have been following Crawley and what some of your best and worst experiences have been during that time?

Sure! I have been supporting Crawley since 2010 and had a season ticket for about 4 of those years. I now mainly go to away games. Highlights for me would be playing Man Utd at Old Trafford, beating Leeds in the FA Cup and just being able to travel around the country to watch us play. Worst experience has probably been this season with us being in a relegation dogfight. 

Crawley Town FC finished the 2021-22 season 12th and are now positioned 23rd as we enter the final few games of the 22-23 campaign. How would you describe the past year?

Poor. After a fairly promising pre-season transfer window signing the likes of Telford, keeping Morris and Nichols (or so we thought!!), we never thought we’d be this close to the relegation zone.  

With everything so close at the bottom, Hartlepool United are unbeaten in their last seven. How much of a worry is relegation?

Very worrying. Hartlepool’s form has come at the wrong time for us and now relegation is really out of our hands. 

In Crawley’s last home game they picked up a good point against Bradford City. Do you believe this will give the team some confidence going into the game against Tranmere or will the most recent outing have more of a say? 

Our home form is better than our away form and so for home matches, our confidence is fairly high! 

What are the reasons behind the struggle?

Distractions off the pitch, having a number of different managers in one season, letting go of players and replacing them with weaker players

In the January transfer window, players such as midfielder Ben Gladwin from Swindon Town, defender Kellan Gordon from Mansfield Town and midfielder Jack Roles from Woking were recruited. How have they settled in and were all key issues addressed?

It’s been a mix. Gladwin has played well when he’s been fit but injuries have affected him. Gordon has been okay. He hasn’t stood out but also hasn’t been the worst player on the pitch. Roles has been poor but he has shown small glimours of hope.  

Crawley’s manager is former Swindon Town boss Scott Lindsey, who was appointed in mid January. What are your thoughts on him, his playing style and his relationship with fans?

Since he has come in, the football we are playing has improved. It’s hard to judge what he’s really like when he hasn’t had a pre-season for him to bring in his players and have time to work on tactics. Fans want him to do well, he is passionate and isn’t afraid to speak his mind. 

Crawley is owned by the relatively controversial cryptocurrency firm WAGMI United. How would you describe their time at the club and how have they gone about addressing the issues that they have faced so far?

Interesting to say the least. Their tenure didn’t start off the best with our current manager being suspended due to an investigation by the FA, they have gone through 6 different managers (caretaker and permanent), let go of a player as he was ‘too small’ to a relegation rival, and so, they could’ve had a better start! They did however lower ticket and season ticket prices which we are thankful for. 

One man to watch out for on Saturday afternoon is Dom Telford as he has netted nine in 37 League Two matches this season. How would you describe his playing style and his importance to the team?

He is a poacher but unfortunately Crawley’s current playing style doesn’t really suit him. We have struggled to get the ball up to him and so he hasn’t scored as many as he did last season. I do think he is quite underrated by the Crawley fans as he is one of our highest goal scorers. 

Where will the key battles be played out at The Broadfield Stadium?

Crawley are struggling to score and so our defence and goalie will need to be at the top of their game against you a lot. Crawley will need to rely on a smash and grab. 

What is your score prediction? The last time the two clubs came head to head was February 28th as a goal from Rovers defender Jordan Turnbull was enough to seal all three points.

1 nil Crawley with Telford scoring the winner. 

What are your thoughts on Tranmere this season? The Rovers, who are currently being overseen by interim gaffer Ian Dawes have been far below expectations.

I personally thought that this was going to be Tranmere’s season to escape League 2 but I was wrong.  You seem to be lacking a goal scorer having scored one of the fewest amount of goals in the league. The game should be a good battle!

Crawley Town’s Broadfield Stadium. Tranmere have won both of their past two games here, the last coming in January 2022 as Jay Spearing netted for The Whites in the 65th minute.

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