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Monday, 4 November 2013

The Inside Line: Crawley Town (05/11/2013)

After four points from two games in which, for once this season, the points tally has bettered the performances City have an opportunity to pull out of the bottom four as they play their game in hand against Steve Coppell-directed Crawley Town, their first league match against the relative newcomers.

Stu Radnedge has spoken to Steve Hollis who covers Crawley for Sussex-based ‘The Argus’ to get his take on the Bonfire Night visitors to Ashton Gate.

The match was due to take place on Oct 12 but was cancelled due to City having international call-ups. At the time, City's form was pretty woeful and Town's was very good. But as of late there have been three straight defeats for the Red Devils. I'll guess you would have rather played the match on the original date, but what has happened the last couple of weeks that could explain the change in form?
Yes, Crawley would have preferred to have played on the original date as they were on a good run of form then. Not too much has changed in the last three games although they are likely to be missing striker Billy Clarke who is sidelined by a knee injury. They were poor against Port Vale but have been a little unlucky against both Stevenage and Brentford so results can be a little misleading.

There will be a fair amount of local focus on two people - one player and one member of staff. Firstly, can we expect to see ex-City manager Steve Coppell in the stands watch the match?
Coppell is unlikely to be at the game. I think he is going to scout Crawley's FA Cup opponents Hednesford Town in order to avoid a return to Ashton Gate. Coppell is very much in the background at Crawley but manager Richie Barker has admitted his experience has been useful.

The other person City fans will be intrigued to see is Kyle MacFadzean - who we were strongly linked with and bid unsuccessfully for twice, at the beginning of this year. What was your opinion on what happened at the beginning of the year and why did the deal fall through?
I think Kyle would have gone if it hadn't been for the virus which kept him out for so long. The clubs weren't far off agreeing a fee from what I can tell but City needed a player who could come straight in to help their relegation battle and Kyle didn't play again until pre-season.

How do you feel Crawley's season has transpired so far, considering their fairly small squad?
Crawley have a lack of depth in pretty much every position considering they only have a squad of 20. They are fairly well covered at centre-back and centre-forward but everywhere else they don't have many options. Considering their lack of resources they have made a positive start to the season but it will be interesting to see how they respond to the recent blip.

Who should City fans expect to cause us some problems on Tuesday night?
Nicky Adams is a real livewire and is usually involved in most of Crawley's best moments going forward. Kyle Bennett has shown glimpses of what he can do since signing on loan from Doncaster and is an exciting prospect.

Can I have a score-line prediction please?
Crawley tend to do better away from home against the bigger clubs having won at Peterborough, drawn at Sheffield United and lost to an injury-time goal at Wolves so I'm going for a 2-1 Crawley win.

Finally, the repeat fixture is at the Checkatrade.com Stadium on the last game of the season. Do you think the fixture will hold any importance significance for either side?

I can't see Crawley having the strength in depth to mount a play-off challenge but they are too good to get sucked into trouble while I think City should pull away from danger considering their resources.  Could well be a mid-table end of season affair!

A big thank you from me to Steve and Stuart for those thoughts.

I’m confident this will be our first home win of the season, and we may even eke out a clean sheet.  You heard it here first!


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