Crewe have struggled to score goals all season, despite scoring six goals on the opening day the Railwaymen have only managed five goals in their last 10 league matches, and three of these goals came in the 3-0 win over Macclesfield.
However, with Harry Pickering returning for the final 20 minutes against Lincoln after over a month long spell on the sidelines hopefully goals should be on the horizon.
At first glance it may seem odd that the return of a left back will lead to more goals for the Alex, but when he played Pickering was vital to Crewe’s efforts in the final third. In the four games that he started before his injury Pickering assisted three Crewe goals and also managed to keep two clean sheets in the process. Despite Pickering starting in the 6-0 loss to Colchester, he was the only player who’s head didn’t go down after conceding three goals in the first 30 mins, and when he was forced off 60 minutes in Crewe collapsed again and conceded another three.
With Corey Whelan not available for Saturdays clash against Bury due to international duty for the Ireland Under 21’s it provides the perfect opportunity for Pickering to come back into Crewe’s starting line-up.
Yes Pickering will help sure up Crewe’s defence, but defending for the Alex really hasn’t been a problem. If you ignore the 6-0 loss to Colchester, Crewe have only conceded six goals in their other 10 league matches. Where the returning of Pickering will be key is in the final third.
Simply put Crewe have lacked serious creativity with their attacks this season, and the return of Pickering should help change this. Not only does Pickering offer a goal threat from set pieces as the fullback is somewhat of a dead ball specialist, but he also offers goals from open play.
Pickering loves to get forward whenever possible and provide an overlapping run, this opens up opportunities for Crewe’s regular left winger Charlie Kirk to either cut inside or play the ball back to Pickering who can then either test the keeper or deliver a killer cross. In the 6-0 win against Morecambe Pickering and Kirk showed the beginnings of what could be a very fruitful partnership for the Alex, however Pickering’s injury cut this partnership short.
If Pickering and Kirk can reignite this partnership down the left hand side then hopefully Crewe’s efforts in the Final Third can drastically improve. Kirk has already grabbed three goals for the Alex this season, and now with the return of Pickering Kirk should regain some freedom in the final third, which can only be a good thing for the Railwaymen.
Photo Credit: Crewe Chronicle