The pre-game ramble: Crewe
The midweek victory over Birmingham had us cooing about the lads for the first time in months, but will they have had enough time to settle down, recuperate and re-focus on the league? Next up sees them back on their travels as they attempt to gain a vital three points over newly-promoted Crewe Alexandra.
How are they getting on?
Erratically. Crewe’s form is all over the place and it’s very difficult to call what team will turn up. They’ve lost two in a row, with one admittedly being away at West Ham in the League Cup, but the other was a demoralising 5-1 defeat to Uwe Rosler’s Brentford.
Prior to this, they’d opened their campaign with a blistering 5-0 hammering of Jeff Stelling’s beloved Hartlepool (in the cup), followed by a fairly limp opening day league defeat at home to Notts County.
In short, they’re liable to score, concede, win or lose. Brilliant.
Who could cause us trouble?
Well they’ve got a lad called Mathias Pogba who has already got four goals this season (two league, two cup). Recognise the name? Yep, that’s right – he’s the brother of former Manchester United youngster Paul Pogba. Having joined from Wrexham in the summer, he’ll certainly be hoping to carry on his goalscoring form.
However, young midfielder Ashley Westwood is really the star man. He’s recently been handed the captain’s armband following his player of the season award last year, and is attracting the attention higher up the leagues, with Premiership Swansea rumoured to have offered £2 million for his services. With the transfer window soon to close, it’ll be interesting to see if he even makes it to Saturday as Crewe player..
Sky Blues team news
In his second game in charge, Richard Shaw will have some decisions to make as he looks to ensure the team is as fresh as possible following the extra-time exploits against Birmingham.
The defence would appear to once again be the most likely area for change. Big Billy Edge and and Reece Brown performed heroically on Tuesday night and will feel like they have earned a second outing together. It’s worth noting however that the Billster was feeling the “cramps” ever such a lot come extra time, and it’ll be interesting to see whether he’ll be able to freshen up in time.
Jordan Willis also found himself struggling for fitness as the game progressed, but he performed admirably and I personally hope he’ll be vying with Cyrus Christie and a returning Jordan Clarke for the right-back birth. If Clarke is ready, he’s most likely to make an appearance. Willis did look very good, though.
With the midfield beginning to settle, you’d like to think Shaw has no pressing need to make any alterations. Surprisingly, it also seems that Kilbane is showing a level of fitness that belies his elderly body. That’s not to do him a disservice either – he had his most influential game of the season so far, the other night.
Tuesday night will have sent the confidence in the squad sky-rocketing. The issue of consistency will always arise, but if Baker plays anywhere close to how he did against Brum, Elliott and McDonald continue to link well, and the defensive duo dominating how they did, then a win should be very much on the cards.
I’m saying 2-0 to the Sky Blues.
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