Are Crawley Town really still on the up?

As all fans of the lower leagues in football know, Crawley have had an historic past two years.

Unforgettable for their ever growing fan base. They have been blessed with finances after being within an hour of liquidation. Bruce Winfield their savour. With the money came players, with these players came back-to-back promotions. But are we now stuck or can we still go any higher?

The current Crawley team is probably the best in the clubs history. Players such as Claude Davis, who has Premier League experience and Paul Jones who was the first ever goalkeeper to save a penalty at Wembley Stadium in 2007. To many who don’t know the club inside and out this would come across as a team who are more than capable of getting a third consecutive promotion to The Championship. Which is true, the first team is capable of such, but there is a downfall, what happens if injuries hit the team? Low fatigue? Suspensions?

Crawley are in danger of a major losing streak at points of the season if any of their players are unable to play, because they have one fixed team that plays week in week out. There is not much rotation. A lot of their back-up players have not proved they are able to play in The Football League when they were provided with an opportunity. Last season proved this. We sold our two main goal scorers, Matt Tubbs and Tyrone Barnett and failed to replace them, struggling towards the business end of the season because the goals were not coming. In the end we only edged promotion on the final day of the season with a 1-0 victory against Accrington Stanley.

Since then The Reds have replaced Tubbs and Barnett and have even got back ups for the front two. We are content when it comes to their attacking options but are particularly weak in the middle of midfield where we have some talented players but are unable to control and command the middle of the pack which resulted in teams able to break the team down and having just the defence to beat. The defence is strong but if any players were unable to play Crawley would struggle because their back up defenders are not up to standards in terms of match fitness and physically. It is the same situation in goal where Paul Jones is a very talented keeper but if he was ever suspended or injured Crawley have just one substitute keeper in the experienced, Michel Kuipers. Who on his own lacks match fitness and is unfortunately passed his best at 40 years old.

Anyone who does already question the strength of The Reds team will usually say they can afford players, just buy more. What most don’t understand is that Crawley are not as rich as two seasons ago. The club blew an enormous chunk of money on a stand, which does not impress most. We have overspent on players and don’t make much money from the gates. The finances are at such a stretch Crawley have had to sell key players and all the youth teams up until under 16’s have folded.

I see promising things at Crawley this season but they do hold the risk suffering some defeats in must win games if they don’t back up some of their key players in key positions? Only time will tell.

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