Q&A With Crewe Alexandra

  • August 26, 2014 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/3b16d

Ahead of the 21st meeting between Crewe Alexandra and Bolton on Tuesday, we have got the views of a Railwaymen supporter.

Wanderers go into the game on the back of a 2-1 defeat at Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday, while Alex were beaten 2-0 at Swindon Town on the same afternoon.

In our latest edition of Q&A, we have spoken to Jack Jones (@CAFCJJ). Jack is a 24-year-old Crewe supporter, who attended his first game in 1999 and has been a season ticket holder for the last three years. He lists Nicky Maynard and Nick Powell among his favourite all-time players, but says their contributions were bettered by a man who was regularly a thorn in Wanderers' side in the late 1990s - Rodney Jack.

Ahead of Tuesday's game, Jack shares his views on both teams' poor starts to the new campaign, which Bolton players have the potential to cause havoc to the Crewe defence, as well as an honest insight into the skills of Wanderers transfer target Max Clayton.

Q: Both teams advanced into the second round of the Capital One Cup, but remain winless in league competition this season. What's going wrong at Crewe and what are your hopes for the rest of the campaign?

A: It's a long story, but, basically, we have lost a lot of quality from last season. Chuks Aneke, who was our top goalscorer, and powerful forward Uche Ikpeazu have both gone after loan spells. Byron Moore was a big source of creativity, Mathias Pogba managed 21 goals in two seasons and we have also lost former Bolton defender Mark Ellis.

All of those players played a key part in our survival last season and they haven't been replaced with like-for-like quality and our defence is currently abysmal. We have two centre-backs starting at the moment, in Adam Dugdale and George Ray, who aren't good enough for League One and never will be and we have a manager who looks increasingly out of his depth, making bizarre decisions and getting a lot of them wrong.

What are my hopes for the rest of the season? That we can tighten up at the back and stop conceding so many goals. If we do, we might be able to salvage the mess we find ourselves in. But, if we don't, we'll go down, no doubt about it.

Q: Steve Davis is entering his third full season at the Alexandra Stadium. Alex have suffered a drop in league position every year since his appointment. Does the club's current position put his future under serious threat?

A: I don't think those stats tell the full story. In his first (not full) season, he got us promoted and then managed us to, on paper, a decent mid-table finish in League One. Yes, it does read that we finished 7th and 14th in the last two years, but that isn't strictly true. However, the latter part of the question is fair.

At the moment, his position isn't under serious threat. He got us promoted from 18th position in November 2011 and managed to get us to 14th two seasons ago - as well as winning the Johnstone's Paint Trophy that same season. Last year was a bad one, but mitigating circumstances off the pitch played a big part in that.

This season, so far, has been a disaster, but it's hard to get an idea of how much threat there is for his job. The board are very uncommunicative on these issues and we aren't known for sacking managers lightly. That being said, if the team doesn't show signs of improvement in the next five or six games, then the board may have no choice but to sack Davis, regardless of what he's done for the club.

Q: Crewe are well known for giving youngsters a start in their footballing careers. Bolton were recently linked with Max Clayton, who, at the time of writing, looks set to complete a move to Denmark. What, if anything, are we missing out on?

A: Not a great deal, in all honesty. In our promotion season of 2011/12, Clayton made a great impact from the bench - scoring half-a-dozen crucial late goals, but since he was made a regular two years ago he has struggled and not looked up to League One standard at all.

He got injured last November, which cut short any game time he might have had, but for the last 12 months he has been consistently refused to sign any contract offers put to him. He let his deal run out in the summer and has been on trial at various clubs ever since.

He had trials at Sunderland and Wolverhampton Wanderers, but neither club have met our estimated £1million valuation and, now, neither have Bolton. In truth, he is not worth anywhere near that amount, nor is he any great loss if you do decide against signing him.

Q: Like Crewe, Bolton have also started the season in poor form and have conceded at least twice in all four league games, to date. Who is likely to be your biggest threat on Tuesday night?

A: We have Marcus Haber, upfront, who scored twice on his full debut last Tuesday. Billy Waters has scored twice already this season, from the right-wing, while combative midfielder Anthony Grant can be a presence in both boxes on his day. Those are the three to watch out for.

Q: Roles reversed, which Wanderers player(s) do you think have the ability to secure an away win for Dougie Freedman's side?

A: Joe Mason has always looked decent for both Cardiff City and Bolton, in the Championship, while the likes of Jermaine Beckford and Craig Davies can be a handful on their day.

Neil Danns and Darren Pratley are also quality players, in midfield, so I can see those five doing well in this game.

Q: Finally, what is your score prediction for Tuesday night's tie?

A: It's hard to say. We are in dire form and conceding goals at an alarming rate, but, that being said, we have been known to raise our game in this competition against higher level opposition.

Derby County, Barnsley and Bristol City have all been beaten at Gresty Road in recent years, whilst we narrowly lost to Blackpool and Ipswich Town as well.

Bolton's current state gives me hope, with Freedman again struggling to get the team going, but, that being said, if Wanderers can take advantage of our dismal defence and static midfield, it should be an easy away win for the Trotters.

I will say 3-1 to Bolton.

Burnden Aces would like to thank Jack for taking the time to answer our questions. You can read more from him on Twitter - @CAFCJJ.

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