16th place Crewe take on 21st place Cambridge in this bottom half of the table clash. The Railwaymen will be looking to firmly establish themselves in mid table whilst Cambridge want to pull themselves away from a relegation battle.
Despite sitting five places apart, only three points separate the two sides. Cambridge have found themselves beginning to pull away from the relegation places and now sit four points clear of the top due to a recent improvement in results.
United have managed to pick up 10 points from their last five league games only losing once, a stark contrast to the recent form of the Alex.
Crewe have only won two out of their last five league games losing the other three, and despite a good performance on Saturday away at Crawley, the Alex still managed to yet again not score on the road in a 3-0 defeat.
Despite the scoreline not looking good for the Alex, for large parts Crewe dominated the proceedings and were unlucky not to leave the Checkatrade stadium with a share of the points. If you ignore the scoreline it was a positive performance by the Railwaymen and was probably their best away performance of this season so far. However, performances don’t win games, goals do. There’s no point being on top for 90 minutes if you can’t take your chances, and if Crewe can’t find a way to start taking their chances then they are going to find themselves in serious trouble.
Whilst Crewe found themselves on the wrong end of a 3-0 defeat, a 10-man Cambridge found themselves rescuing a late 2-2 draw against promotion contenders Bury. Despite Cambridge going 2-0 down within 25 minutes and having a man sent off early in the second-half, a late goal from defender Greg Taylor saw Cambridge take a share of the points.
The recent results don’t bode well for the Alex, as in the four times the two sides have met in the last two seasons Crewe have lost all four. At Gresty Road last season Cambridge ran away 1-0 winners thanks to a first-half goal from Jabo Ibehre.
With recent meetings between the two sides not looking good for the Railwaymen, it’s going to take another strong performance from the Alex to see them get a result against an in-form Cambridge side.
Predicted Crewe XI:
Corey Whelan, Perry Ng, George Ray, Harry Pickering
Callum Ainley, Ryan Wintle, James Jones, Charlie Kirk
Jordan Bowery, Malachi Linton (Realistically Artell will probably continue to start Miller despite his inability to find the net).
I know i’m being optimistic here giving Malachi Linton a start and i’m 99% sure that the lad wont even get a look in, but its clear something has to change for Crewe up top.
The Railwaymen just haven’t had a consistent goalscorer, despite Bowery’s best efforts the lad isn’t a natural goalscorer, and needs to be partnered with someone who can get the most out of him. So far partnerships with Nicholls, Porter and Miller all haven’t worked for the Alex, so is it not time to try someone new.
With Lewis Reilly currently out on loan at Halesowen Town the only other short-term solution before the January transfer window is to give Linton to game time. Even if Linton just makes the bench, it would hopefully be a step in the right direction for the Alex. I understand that Linton has only been scoring goals for the under 18’s side, but just as a fan looking at the options we have, it makes sense for me to give him a chance with the first team. Crewe have a rich history of giving young academy graduates a chance, so why not continue that with Linton.
Crewe 2-0 Cambridge
After Saturdays performance Crewe out arguably due a win and the Alex have been a tough side to play against for the most part at Gresty Road this season. As long as Crewe can begin converting their chances then Tuesday night should see Crewe return to winning ways.
Picture Credit: Crewe Alexandra