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Club News


6 December 2013

A look at tomorrow's opposition

Taking a break from League action, Bristol Rovers this weekend entertain Crawley Town in the FA Cup.

Earlier this week the Sussex team announced John Gregory their new first-team manager. Greogry has signed an 18-month contract and will take charge for the first time on Saturday.

The Reds were quick to make the appointment after sacking Richie Barker on 27 November. The 38-year-old former Bury boss had been in charge since August 2012. Barker took them to 10th place in League One last season, but they had not won any of their last seven league games, scoring only once.

They appointed Chief Scout Martin Hinshelwood and striker Gary Alexander in interim charge.  Perhaps testing fate Hinshelwood noted, "I had a few spells in charge at Brighton over the years and I enjoy it," he said. "I am unbeaten as a caretaker.

In their latest game away to Crewe the Reds were being held 0-0 by a 10 man home team after Vadaine Oliver had been sent off after picking up two yellow cards, the second for what looked like a clear dive.

Then an 81st minute header from Chuks Aneke's gave his team their first win in nine games. The winger, on loan from Arsenal, had only been on the pitch for a few moments when he converted Matt Tootle's cross at the back post. 

Hinshelwood could not hide his disappointment, "To be fair to Crewe they competed, they worked hard, they made so many blocks and the one from Mat Sadler was unbelievable, but we are very disappointed. 

"We are on a bit of a run at the moment and we have just got to believe in ourselves to get out of it. When [Crewe] went down to 10 men, we didn't pass the ball enough and we didn't keep it well enough. We had 90 minutes to win a game and we didn't. We have just got to do the things we believe in and I am sure it will fall for us."

Talking about the away support he said, "I just wish we could have rewarded their loyalty and support for the team with a result. We are the most southerly based team this season which means an awful lot of travelling for our supporters.

"We don't have massive away followings but Crawley supporters are extremely loyal and they do get behind the team so, on behalf of everyone in the club, our thanks for their support."

Rovers and Crawley have met just twice in competitive football back in the 2011/12 season when the rampant reds steamrollered Rovers 4-1 at Broadmeadow and earned a 0-0 draw in the return game at the Mem.

Talking about his team’s prospects for the rest of the season new Boss Gregory said, “I don’t want everyone associated with this club to think little old Crawley who were in the Conference a few years ago, we’re in League One punching above our weight.

“I want us to have the mentality that we’re here on merit. This club have worked so hard to get where they are and it’s time to look up now.

"This club has come a long way in a short space of time but it doesn't want to stand still. We are not happy just to get into League One so my vision is to look up. The Championship is not beyond us and when I sat down with the board and listened to what they had to say it was pleasing to hear the club is ambitious as I am.
"The play offs are not beyond us. The play-offs are a minimum. Getting in the top two for automatic promotion is not beyond us. That is our ultimate aim."

It has been a week of upheaval at the Sussex club with Steve Coppell standing down as director of football having been in the role since April 2012. Chief executive John Dunford noted, “Steve will always have a special place in our hearts at Crawley Town FC because he was instrumental in assisting Craig Brewster in securing our promotion to League One and has since been a very good advisor to the both the board of directors and the team management."

Written by Gerry Prewett.

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