Crewe preview… Will payback be in store after the Railwaymen beat us earlier in the season?

The Sky Blues welcome Crewe Alexandra to Coventry on Saturday and a victory would ensure our safety in the division after a disappointing season. A very good record is held by the Railwaymen at the Ricoh Arena however and they will be looking for three points themselves to pull them away from the teams below them. They currently sit just two points above Leyton Orient who occupy 21st position and the final berth in the relegation zone.

 

Over 31,000 supporters were in attendance as Crewe ran out 3-0 victors two seasons ago in the JPT…

We will be in confident mood going in to the fixture though after last weekend’s superb performance and result away at champions Bristol City. Not many teams have gone to Ashton Gate this season and restricted the Robins to zero attempts on target, in fact we may be the only one, and if we can perform to a similar standard on Saturday then we should have enough to beat a struggling Crewe side. I feel as if we are ever-improving under Mowbray and if this trend continues we will be pleased. It will be quite pleasant to ensure our League One status with a win at home, and after our recent turnaround at the Ricoh confidence will be high, and keeping four clean sheets in succession on the road will also help.

Last time we met the game ended in a 2-1 loss as City produced one of their worst displays of the season at Gresty Road. After an abysmal first half display from the Sky Blues, then bottom Crewe went in 2-0 up at the break. We enjoyed a bright start to the second period and got an early goal back, but we couldn’t inflict any more damage and a fairly lifeless performance resulted in a loss. We’ll be looking to avenge that defeat this time around though, with the motivation of mathematically staying up being on the player’s minds.

Form…

The Sky Blues will be in confident mood after going two games without defeat at the Ricoh Arena, and four away clean sheets on the bounce will no doubt improve the defence’s confidence going in to the tie. Over the last six games, we have accumulated a reasonable 9 points from 2 wins, 3 draws and 1 loss. Mowbray has reiterated his desire to “get the job done” and keep us in the division in front of our home fans on Saturday.

Crewe Alexandra come in to the game with a fairly meagre return of 4 points from a possible 18 in their last six fixtures. Their recorded comprises of 0 wins, 4 draws and 2 losses. They have drawn their last three however, all with a 1-1 scoreline, and the Railwaymen will be looking to convert a performance in to three points versus the Sky Blues. A win would move them further away from the teams below them.

Team News…

Coventry City will be without Jordan Willis for the weekend’s fixture as the defender was replaced during the game against Bristol City due to an ankle injury. He is joined on the sidelines by long term absentee, Danny Pugh, who has been out for the majority of the season.

On a positive note, Marcus Tudgay returned to training this week and he is likely to return to the matchday squad, albeit on the bench. Mowbray is a big admirer of the striker and his return will be seen as a welcome one by supporters too as Nick Proschwitz hasn’t been too convincing in filling his void.

The Railwaymen will be boosted by the potential return of three players in time for the weekend’s clash. Goalkeeper Ben Garratt retuned to training earlier this week and the number one stopper could feature after suffering a broken leg in February. Matt tootle’s eagerly anticipated return also looks likely to come against the Sky Blues as he has finally recovered from a serious ankle injury. Another player likely to return is Jamie Ness, the midfielder has received injections to speed up the recovery of a calf injury that kept him out of their clash at Walsall.

Two players that certainly won’t feature are Alan Tate and Chris Atkinson, the former is out with an ankle problem and the latter remains sidelined after suffering a dislocated shoulder.

One to watch…

Nicky Ajose

Nicky Ajose is a well-known player within the footba league, and he is seen as Crewe’s key player at the moment. The forward started out at Manchester United’s youth side and since then he has represented various league sides after he didn’t make the cut at Premier League level. Leeds United purchased the 23 year old in 2014 and he was subsequently loaned out to Crewe in November after he failed to make a real impact at Elland Road.

Since his arrival at Crewe, the striker has enjoyed life at Gresty road and he has notched 8 goals, along with contributing 5 assists to help the side pull out of the bottom four. His frightening pace and eye for goal are certainly attributed the Sky Blues will need to be wary of, but Ajose will be looking to make an impact on the game as he attempts to reignite his career. He is seen as Crewe’s biggest hope of survival at the moment, and his goals could fire them to safety.

My Thoughts…

I am fairly confident going in to the fixture, and this can only be helped by the fact we are practically safe now and the nervous disposition I’ve had for the last few months is rapidly fading away. Our performance at Bristol was nothing short of superb and a repeat of that standard would surely enable us to defeat a Crewe side who will be fighting for their lives. A merry band of around 800 away fans will be making the trip to the Ricoh, and it’s our job to send them home unhappy.

Mowbray has stated that this fixture is very important as he hopes to end the battle with a win in front of a larger than normal home crowd. A win would be greeted with huge relief by the City faithful and it would pave the way for a party atmosphere at Crawley on the last day of the campaign. As Mowbray said, we shouldn’t really be celebrating staying up in the third division, but after another nightmare term it will be celebratory as a relieved feeling would overcome us. After all, relegation to the fourth division would be catastrophic.

I know Crewe will come in to the game with a self-belief and I’m sure Steve Davis would be reminded them of their record in Coventry. It’s a different era now though and we look much more of a complete outfit under Mowbray, which leads me to expect a Sky Blues win. With a few more fans attending than usual, it’s a chance for the lads to attract a few supporters back for next season and a result/performance would go a long way to doing that.

Let’s hope for three points and a good atmosphere during the game, then we can relax knowing that we will be playing in League One next season. We should stay up regardless now as Leyton Orient and Notts County would have to win their remaining two games and we’d have to lose both of ours… Highly unlikely, but let’s get the job done ourselves with a result!

My prediction: Coventry City 2-0 Crewe Alexandra

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