Crewe are looking for their first win in three games whilst winless County are looking to drag themselves out of the relegation places under new manager Harry Kewell.
After the 1-0 defeat to local rivals Port Vale last Saturday and the heavy 4-1 loss to Manchester City under 21’s on Tuesday, the Railwaymen will be looking to turn their fortunes around against County.
Meanwhile, despite pre-season ambitions of promotion, County are still looking for their first win of the season and find themselves 2nd from bottom. New manager Harry Kewell is looking to turn their season around and will be hoping for a win against an out of sorts Crewe side in what will be his 4th game in charge.
Before last Saturday the Railwaymen had only conceded one goal at home in four matches. However, since then Crewe have conceded five times in two matches at Gresty Road.
The second-half performance the Alex put in against Vale was probably one of the worst performances I have seen as a fan, all the Railwaymen did was lump it forward at every opportunity as they practically handed Vale the 1-0 victory. Despite Crewe putting in an improved performance against Manchester City Under 21’s in the Checkatrade Trophy, the team still lost 4-1, and if results don’t start to improve quickly Manager Artell could find himself in hot water.
Not only are results currently poor, but so are performances. Crewe only managed one shot on target against Port Vale, and obviously you aren’t going to score if you fail to test the opposition keeper. When the Railwaymen play proper football they can genuinely beat any side in League Two, however, recently Crewe have resorted to just lumping it long and hoping for the best.
Despite defensive performances being strong this season (aside from the 6-0 defeat to Colchester), Crewe have more often that not looked lethargic on the ball. During the 6-0 and 3-0 victory’s over both Morecambe and Macclessfield, Crewe moved the ball forward with pace and simply overwhelmed their opponents. However, recent performances have being a far cry from that.
If the Alex want to return to winning ways they must begin to take advantage of their time on the ball instead of just passing it sideways and backwards.
With County looking for their first win of the season they wont have many better opportunities than a Crewe visit to Meadow Lane.
The Railwaymen have only picked up one point on the road this season and have still failed to score away from home in the league. Notts have seen an improvement in results under new manager Kewell, despite a 5-1 loss in his first game away at Exeter, County are undefeated in their last two outings drawing 3-3 at home against Stevenage, and a 0-0 away at Northampton. With a recent upturn in results County will be looking to continue their improved form against an out of sorts Crewe side this Saturday and provide their fans with the first win of the season.
Crewe haven’t won away at County since March 1997, and last season saw themselves smashed 4-1 by a high flying County side at Meadow Lane in February 2018. Despite Crewe opening the scoring early on through Shaun Miller things quickly fell apart for the Railwaymen as they shipped 4 goals to a quality County side.
Crewe did however manage to beat Notts County 2-0 at Gresty Road last season through goals from Michael Raynes and Jordan Bowery.
Predicted Crewe XI:
Goalkeeper- Ben Garratt
Garratt looked comfortable in between the sticks against Vale and really couldn’t do anything to stop Leon Legge’s header. Despite shipping four midweek against Manchester City Under 21’s, it seems unlikely that Garratt will be dropped against County.
Defence- Perry Ng, Michael Raynes, George Ray, Kevin O’Connor
Two changes to the defence that started the last league game against Vale and one change to the defence that shipped four goals midweek. Perry Ng, George Ray and Kevin O’Connor keep their place whilst Michael Raynes replaces Corey Whelan. Against Vale both Whelan and Hunt looked poor both on and off the ball, and despite Whelan keeping his place mid week I believe its time for Michael Raynes to come back into the starting XI, which would see Ng moved back over to right back. With Nolan and Pickering not due to come back for at least another month this would be my preferred back four for the county game.
Midfield- Callum Ainley, Ryan Wintle, Tommy Lowery, Charlie Kirk
When Ainley and Kirk are on their game Crewe look extremely threatening out wide, and even though neither player had the best of times against Vale it only makes sense for them to both to start this Saturday. James Jones saw himself dropped midweek after his poor performance against Vale and I don’t think he should be brought back into the starting XI on Saturday. Instead I would personally see Tommy Lowery retain his place from midweek alongside Ryan Wintle this Saturday.
Forwards – Jordan Bowery, Alex Nicholls
With Crewe still struggling to find the goals on the road this season, i’d like to see a return to the front two who helped put sic past Morecambe on opening day. Nicholls also managed to grab a goal midweek so arguably deserves to retain his spot in the starting XI.
Notts County 2-1 Crewe
Unless Crewe’s performance here is a drastic improvement compared to their last two outings I simply cant see them getting anything out of this game. County have improved under new manager Kewell and I expect them to earn their first victory of the season against a poor Crewe side this Saturday.
Picture Credit: Crewe Alexandra