Crewe come into this game looking for their first point away from home this season, whilst new Cheltenham manager Michael Duff takes charge of his first game for the Robins.
Crewe had the week off after the dramatic 4-3 comeback against Tranmere midweek due to the game with Mansfield being called off because of their international call-ups.
Crewe used this opportunity to train with the Liverpool Under 23’s after the renewed link between the clubs. The Railwaymen brought in Liverpool Under 23 defender and captain Corey Whelan on loan until January 2019 on deadline day and the two teams played a match behind closed doors on Friday before Artell gave them the weekend off. Artell said that
“It was a great experience for them again and the players can really see the benefit of it”.
As well as having the week off, the Crewe lads also got a massive confidence booster last Tuesday when they came back from 3-1 down to beat Tranmere 4-3 in the Checkatrade Trophy.
The Railwaymen took the lead through an early goal from Chris Porter, but After Tranmere struck back with three of their own Late goals from Alex Nicholls, Chris Porter and James Jones secured the victory for The Alex. Many fans hope that this is a turning point for the squad, as not only does it give them the confidence that they can pick up points away from home, but also that they have the ability to flip a game on its head.
After showing that they have the ability to perform away from home, Crewe have the perfect opportunity to make it two league wins in a row for the first time this season against a Cheltenham side who have had little time with their new manager.
The Railwaymen’s last league outing saw them beat Cheshire rivals Macclesfield 3-0 at Gresty road in a thoroughly dominant performance, if Crewe can replicate that level of performance then there is little reason as to why they can’t beat Cheltenham.
Cheltenham appointed new manager Michael Duff on September the 10th, meaning that the new manager will only have five days to prepare his side for the visit of Crewe to Whaddon Road. However Cheltenham do come into this game of the back of a 3-1 away victory over Northampton, that combined with the confidence boost of a new manager could see Cheltenham give the Railwaymen a very challenging fixture this Saturday.
Crewe fans will be hoping that Duff has a similar managerial debut to that of Harry Kewell, who saw his Notts County side battered 5-1 away at Exeter. However, Artell is wary of the boost that a new manager may give Cheltenham, stating that
” I will talk to them (the players) because we will have to match Cheltenham’s endeavour and they might start quickly or raise it 10% because of a new manager”.
Whilst Crewe haven’t gained a point on the road this season, Cheltenham are yet to gain a point at home losing all four games that they have played at Whaddon Road in the league so far.
Both teams come into this game wanting to break unwanted records, that and the fact that both teams have seen goals in their last few outings should make this a good game for both sets of fans.
Last season the two sides met twice in league Two with each side winning their home fixture. Cheltenham beat the Railwaymen 1-0 at home last season with a second half goal from Jamie Grimes. However, Crewe got their revenge back at Gresty Road in a landmark game where Crewe fielded a full academy starting XI for the second time in five seasons.
Thanks to a Shaun Miller brace Crewe recorded a 2-1 victory over the Robins on the last day of the season in May 2018. There was little to separate the two sides in the league last season, as Crewe finished 15th, two places and five points ahead of the Robins.
Many Crewe fans will have fond memories of the 2012 league two playoff final victory over Cheltenham. A game that saw the Railwaymen promoted back to League One in which Nick Powell scored arguably one of the best play-off goals in play-off history in his last outing for the club, before his lucrative seven-figure move to Manchester United.
Goalkeeper- Ben Garratt
Despite Garratt arguably being at fault for two out of the three goals that he shipped against Tranmere, it is unlikely that Garratt will loose his starting spot after Artell has come out and said he is unhappy with Richards after he ignored instruction during the shootout loss to Fleetwood.
Defense- Perry Ng, George Ray, Corey Whelan, Kevin O’Connor
With Eddie Nolan likely not to be back for Saturdays clash it would make sense for new loan defender Whelan to start his first game for the Alex. With O’Connor believed to be fit despite been stretchered off with a head injury against Tranmere this appears to be Crewe’s strongest back four whilst Pickering and Nolan are out injured .
Midfield- Callum Ainley, James Jones, Ryan Wintle, Charlie Kirk
This is in my opinion Crewe’s strongest midfield four, and with all four players fit it only makes sense that they start.
Forwards- Jordan Bowery, Chris Porter
This is where i don’t envy Dave Artell, as he has four forwards who all arguably deserve a place in the starting XI. However, I believe that it will be Bowery and Porter that get the nod.
Bowery bagged twice against Macclesfield whilst Porter also scored a brace in the comeback against Tranmere last Tuesday.
Whilst Nicholls also scored against Tranmere, Miller is yet to find the net this season so it makes sense for the Physical duo of Bowery and Porter to start against The Robins.
Cheltenham 1-3 Crewe
Despite having the boost of a new manager I believe that Crewe will have too much for Cheltenham now they have broken their away from home losing streak.
The Physicality of Porter and Bowery combined with the flair of Kirk and Ainley out wide will only lead to goals for the Alex, however it is likely that Cheltenham will bag one or two against an inconsistent Crewe back five.
Photo Credit: Crewe Alexandra