Crawley aiming to thwart Stags and end disappointing season on a high

Crawley Town FC v Grimsby Town FC. Harry Kewell.  Pic Steve Robards SR1804130
Crawley Town FC v Grimsby Town FC. Harry Kewell. Pic Steve Robards SR1804130

Visiting Crawley Town will want to finish the season on a winning note for their fans and head coach after losing their final home game last Saturday against Crewe Alexandra.

Boss Harry Kewell has stressed he expects his players to be fully motivated throughout the entire campaign and not let it peter after enduring a run of one win in 11 ahead of Saturday’s trip to play-off chasing Mansfield.

Stags boss David Flitcroft said: “Crawley are one of the better football teams in the league.

“You look at the teams that have gone up and the teams in the play-offs and they are strong teams - robust and quite direct.

“But Crawley have tried to do it a different way. They move the ball around the pitch really well to create opportunities from different angles.

“They’ve just been on a poor run. There seems to be some uncertainty at the club that I just can’t put my finger on as it’s a club that January/February time I thought was going to threaten the top seven.

“Their manager has been a top performer and he’s come and got his hands dirty in a difficult league. They will want to finish on a high themselves.”

Manager Kewell is now a popular figure among the Crawley fans, having achieved stability following three poor seasons.

He survived having at one stage being called upon to be sacked in mid-November after some poor results which left Reds 21st in the table and just three points above the relegation zone.

Since then he enjoyed a good run which lifted them to within a couple of points of the play-offs before slipping back to mid-table.

Fans can see he is trying to play an attractive passing game rather than relying too much on hoofing the ball and a rough and tumble approach.

He is known to enjoy hard work and expects the same of his players during matches and training sessions.

This season the team has been without a prolific striker, having sold top scorer James Collins over the summer to Luton Town, while Matt Harrold left for Leyton Orient.

Fans can see the team has badly needed a goalscorer and could do well next season if this can be obtained from the start.

Striker Karlan Ahearne-Grant on loan from Charlton, has scored eight goals in 14 games since joining in the club in January.

Stags must also look out for Crawley skipper Jimmy Smith, who has scored 10 goals from central midfield so far this season, including an equaliser last week against Crewe.

Crawley have no injuries or suspensions ahead of Saturday.