Crewe meeting the opposition

Tranmere Rovers are back in action this Saturday afternoon as they play host to Crewe Alexandra.

Nigel Adkins’ men returned to winning ways last weekend as they narrowly beat Grimsby, 2-1, in Cleethorpes. 

It was a hard working performance. The Mariners nearly drew level at the end, but for a fantastic save from Luke McGee and an excellent finish by Rob Apter, who has only recently extended his stay at the club until the Summer. 

It was a quiet transfer window for Rovers though, Adkins clearly prioritising the chance to keep the current, positive squad morale before adding quality when the season ends.

Crewe were beaten against Salford City last weekend. However, Lee Bell’s fifth placed side have been playing some good stuff this year with former Rovers man Elliott Nevitt up top and will be aiming to get back to winning ways on The Wirral.

Ahead of the game, I spoke to The Railwaymen Podcast. 

Hi The Railwaymen Podcast, when did you start supporting Crewe? 

I’ve been supporting Crewe since I understood what football was in the early 1990s.

What was your first experience of the club like? 

A very different place to what it is today. I was standing on the railway end terrace, with no roof watching the game. I’m not sure who we played, but I know we won that day.

Could you tell us some of the highs and lows in your time following The Alex?

The nine seasons in the Championship will always take some beating. Even the one we dropped down to Div 2 was superb as it was a great promotion season.

Crewe are in a good run of form, despite Saturday’s defeat to Salford City. Could you tell us how this season has gone so far?

It’s gone better than anyone could ever have thought, we were tipped to be down the bottom, even the most optimistic would not have us where we currently are, with this much of the season gone.

How much of an improvement has it been on last year?

It’s like watching two different clubs.

How likely do you view your promotion chances?

I think we’ll be in and amongst it at the end of the season. I’m not sure top three will happen, but we’ve beaten Notts, Mansfield and Barrow already this season, so why not?

Charles Grant has been Chairman of The Alex since 2021 after he joined the club’s board in 2012. How happy are you with the way the club is being run?

Pretty happy, I think there’s been some learning curves along the way, but he’s trying his best, and he has the club’s interest at heart, I think.

40-year-old Lee Bell was appointed as manager in November 2022, replacing Alex Morris, he has won 27 of his 68 games in charge. What are your thoughts on Bell and his playing style?

The man can do no wrong, and long may it continue, he’s putting everything he can into this job, he deserves all his success.

How much of a positive is it that he was previously the U18s and U23’s manager? That seems to be the case with a lot of Crewe bosses. 

I think it speaks to the ethos of the club, it’s what we’re all about.

Former Rovers man Elliott Nevitt is Crewe’s top scorer with twelve goals in 30 matches. He has also set up his teammates with two assists. Talk to us about the talent he has… 

It’s not so much about the talent for him, he obviously has it, or he wouldn’t be a professional footballer, but it’s his work ethic and his willingness to do the tough stuff that has made him a fans favourite at the club.

The most recent meeting between Crewe and Tranmere brought a 2-0 win for The Alex at Gresty Road. Mickey Demetriou and Chris Long got themselves on the scoresheet. Thoughts on that game?

I think we caught Tranmere at the right time, you were at the bottom of a trough and in reality it was a fairly straight forward game, with one club looking up full of morale and one club being the opposite.

The last time Crewe played at Prenton Park was in mid-October 2022 as an in-form Rovers won 3-0. Score prediction for your visit this time ‘round?

2-1 Crewe.

Thoughts on Nigel Adkins’ Tranmere? 

I think it’s going to be much tougher than the first game of the season, there seems to have been an upturn in fortune which is not surprising given his pedigree.

What are your thoughts on Crewe’s transfer window this January? A couple of young players have been brought in on loan in Preston midfielder Lewis Leigh and Huddersfield midfielder Josh Austerfield. 

It’s not been ideal, we’ve lost a great centre back and a centre mid with Joe White going back on loan.  We’ve got a few in on loan, they’ve started ok, but it’s too early to tell if this is the winning combination for the remainder of the season.

Crewe academy graduate, Irish defender, Connor O’Riordan has been snapped up by Blackburn Rovers recently. How important do you view the great academy that the club has?

It’s the same answer as the coaches, it’s the ethos and life blood of the club, and any Crewe fan is rightly proud of it.

Tranmere have won five of their six recent games at Prenton Park. Crewe are unbeaten in their last three road trips. It’s set to be an entertaining contest. 

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