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Match Previews

Crawley Preview - A look at our next opponents

11 August 2022

Match Previews

Crawley Preview - A look at our next opponents

11 August 2022

After exiting the Carabao Cup in midweek, Town are again on home soil and will look to get back to winning ways on Saturday when they host Crawley Town.

The defeat to Stockport County came on the back of the 3-0 reversal in the league at Crewe a week ago, but despite the pair of defeats Simon Weaver remains positive about how his side is shaping up over the early weeks of the season.

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Our opponents

After an inconsistent season that saw them finish the campaign in 12th place there was a summer of change at the Broadfield Stadium.

In came new owners, with the much-publicised WAGMI United taking control of the club and a new man in the dugout too with Kevin Betsy appointed to replace John Yems.

There was a big splash in the transfer market as last seasons League Two top scorer Dom Telford bolting from Newport County to join the club.

The club also added Dion Conroy, Corey Addai and Tobi Omole to their ranks as well as James Balagizi, Teddy Jenks, Ellery Balcombe and Mazeed Ogungbo arriving on loan from Premier League outfits.

However, the club have opened the season with a pair of 1-0 defeats in league action but a Tom Nicholls goal did see them edge Bristol Rovers in the Carabao Cup in midweek.

Previous meetings

Since Town entered the EFL the results between the two sides have seen them share the spoils. In 2020/21 a 1-1 draw at The Envirovent Stadium first-half goals from Aaron Martin, Josh March and Simon Power saw Town blow their hosts away by a 3-1 margin.

Last season saw a reversal of that outcome as a 2-2 draw at Crawley early in the season was followed by a 3-1 win for the Sussex side with Nick Tsaroulla and Tom Nicholls cancelling out Brahim Diarra's second-half equaliser.

The man in charge

44 year-old Kevin Betsy had a much-travelled playing career, racking up over 500 appearances across over a dozen clubs, most prominently at Wycombe and beginning and ending his career ay Woking.

Having previously coached at youth team level at Fulham, he moved into the National set-up, leading the England team at under 15, 16, 17 and 18 level before having a single season at Arsenal as head coach of their under-23 side prior to taking the Crawley job.

Ones to watch

Dom Telford will be the obvious danger man for the Town defence to contend with, although he has yet to open his account on the season. He will likely be partnered in attack by Tom Nicholls, who shone in Crawley's defeat of Town last season.

Dion Conroy, added from Swindon in the off-season, has already become a fixture in the defence alongside the experienced George Francomb.

In midfield, Jake Hessenthaler has been a fixture for some time whilst Liverpool loanee James Balzagi has plenty of potential and has featured in both league games to date.

Recent history

Having turned semi-pro back in 1962 when they were admitted to the Southern League, Crawley are one of the newest members of the Football League having won promotion from the Conference in 2011/12.

They then secured a successive promotion from League Two, also undertaking an impressive FA Cup run as they dispatched two Championship sides before exiting to Stoke City in the fifth-round.

The club spent three seasons in League before relegation back to League Two in 2015, where they have remained since.

Team news

Simon Weaver remains without defenders Rory McArdle and Will Smith as well as Josh Falkingham and Max Wright as they continue their recovery from injuries that has seen them miss the beginning of the 2022/23 season.

Both Alex Pattison and Tyler Frost were absent from the squad on Tuesday night and remain a doubt.

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