Steve Holland’s Crewe Alexandra side face an uphill battle to avoid relegation even at this stage of the season. Occupying the last relegation spot the Cheshire side have displayed the kind of form that should not trouble Swansea City; sitting 10 points clear of the chasing pack Roberto Martinez’s squad will be supremely confident of piling more misery on a Alexndra team beset by injury problems.
Holland has heaped praise on the leauge leaders and highlighted the 4-0 win over Doncaster Rovers at the Keepmoat Stadium as a signal to the rest of the division that Swansea are the team to beat.
Martinez has bee further bolstered by the news that long term injury plagued midfielder’s Owain Tudur Jones and Darren Way safely came through the reserve fixture against AFC Bournemouth this week.
The Railwaymen’s home form book will not make for easy reading by the Gresty Road faithful with only one home win in over 2 months , meeting the lead leaders who have been unbeaten on the road since the 22nd November could not be a more daunting prospect.
3 more points on the road for The Liberty Stadium outfit could see them move 13 point clear at the top of the division with games in hand. With the kind of form shown by Swansea in recent months who would bet against them?
Crewe Manager Steven Holland:
|”Swansea City are flying high at the top of the league. They are ten points clear of what is a very competitive league, so that just goes to show how well they have done this season. They have set the marker for the rest of us.’They overran us at times at their ground. They were too lively for us and their midfield and wingers were very quick, direct and powerful. We had trouble containing them but we did well to be in the game for so long.’|
Crewe Alexandra Team News:
Crewe manager Steve Holland has seen his side be beset by injuries in recent weeks.
Neil Cox is out through a shoulder injury whilst Gary Roberts and Michael O’Connor all look set to miss out on the fixture. Julien Baudet and Nicky Maynard look to be in contention. Maynard will feature if he comes through training tomorrow according to Holland . The under fire manager could face the prospect of calling up teenage striker Josh Thompson to the first team who vastly impressed in the reserve game against Chesterfield this week.
Player to watch: Tom Pope
The Young Gun:
|Born in Soke Upon Trent Crewe’s striker Tom Pope has been the only goal scorer for the The Railwaymen in the last 6 games. Scoring two goals one of which came against Swansea City on the 22nd January and the other against Bristol Rovers on the 29th January . The youngster is in his 2nd season as a leauge player and with still a lot to learn about the game he still could prove a handful for Swansea City.|
Swansea City Team News:
Paul Anderson is sidelined after picking up a thigh strain The Liverpool midfielder had pulled up in an off the ball incident just 15 minutes into the top of the table clash against Nottingham Forest just over a week ago.
Martinez is without fellow Spaniard Andrea Orlandi as he continues his rehabilitation following a knee injury which saw him sprain his medial ligaments and tear cartilage in the knee. Orlandi has been given a boost in the last day or so with his return brought forward by a month as his exploratory operation was deemed a success.
Marcos Painter is out due to suspension after receiving his 5th yellow card after a dive against Oldham last Saturday.
Martinez will welcome Darren Pratley back into the heart of the Swansea midfield after he served a 2 match ban. Darren Way and Owain Tudur Jones look to miss out despite coming through the 1-0 win over AFC Bournemouth in the reserves yesterday afternoon.
Player to watch: Darren Pratley
Swansea’s Work Horse:
|Darren Pratley returns from suspension on Saturday. Swansea’s work horse in midfield has been one of the most consistent performers over the course of the season.|
The former Brentford player has created a strong partnership with Ferrie Bodde. During his enforced spell on the sidelines he was sorely missed. He will cause problems for Crewe come Saturday afternoon.
Match Facts & Stats
The Form Book(based on previous 5 results)
Referee: Clive Oliver
Assistants K Benton and S Ihringova
Fourth Official K J Mattocks
Referee Clive Oliver progressed through the Northern League structure before being promoted to the National list of referees in 2004. He has officiated the Unibond league cup final in 2005. The Northumberland official so far this season has taken charge of 22 games and has given 54 yellow cards but has not dismissed any one off the field of play.
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