Ahead of Saturday's match at Gresty Road, we spoke to Peter Morse of Cheshire Live to talk all things Crewe Alexandra...
- It has been a hugely impressive season for Crewe so far, have they far exceeded your own expectations?
“Everyone at the club expected a better season having had a fair few disappointing one’s going back to 2013, including a few last day escapes in League One before getting relegated and then struggling in League Two for the most part. Last season was better though and they certainly picked up a bit towards the end of the season so people maybe expected a play-off push but to be second at this stage and in serious contention for automatic promotion is far better than most people would have expected.”
- Could you point the title bid to anything in particular as to what has changed from previous seasons?
“It has been more of an evolution than a revolution, obviously everybody knows about the strength of Crewe’s Academy and how they bring through their own players. A lot of the ones who had struggled a bit as teenagers are now 20, 21, 22 years old and coming into their own with 100, 150 league games to their name. They have kept that consistency and they have grown together, along with the manager who has been there for three years.
“There has been a patience and confidence in the talent of the young players there. In a matchday squad of 18 there is about 12 home grown players, including seven or eight in the starting XI. A lot of them have been playing together since the age of nine or so. The Manager has supplemented the obvious inexperience with some very experienced player such as Chris Porter, Nicky Hunt and Paul Green.”
- Who has been the stand-out player throughout the campaign?
“If you had asked me a month ago, I would have probably said Charlie Kirk but now I think I will go with Ryan Wintle. He has played more games than anybody else and is the most important member of midfield. He sits in the middle of a three and does a lot of important defensive work but can get on the ball and do some attacking too.”
- Is there any weakness to the team, in your eyes, that Stevenage could potentially exploit on Saturday?
“They don’t keep many clean sheets although weakness wouldn’t be the word. They have improved in this aspect from recent years, everybody knows Crewe as a very attacking team and in past seasons this has led to the team conceding a lot of goals.
“They aren’t conceding lots of goals right now, but a few sloppy goals here and there have kept the opposition in games, when perhaps they should have been out of sight.”
- What’s your score prediction?
“They haven’t been walloping teams lately but have been carrying out some professional jobs, so I would say 2-0 to the home side.”