Crawley Town began last season with ambitions of consolidating their place in England’s third division, but after a mind-boggling run of injuries and poor recruitment meant it was almost impossible for them to cling on to their place in League One. The heath of boss John Gregory epitomised a season where they were desperately unlucky with injuries and sometimes struggled to fill the bench, even with the wave of loanee’s that entered towards the conclusion of the season, where their fate was sealed.
Gregory stuck with little of the team that had fought through the previous season and managed to keep their head above water for another chance to impress. Captain, Josh Simpson was one of the names to extend his stay at the Broadfield Stadium. The former Peterborough United man it one of Crawley’s most loyal servants, but even a last minutes goal against his old club, could not overturn his abysmal run of form from the early months of the campaign. Simpson has since left the club to join fellow promotion favourites Plymouth Argyle.
Versatile left sided player Lewis Young was one of the few bright sparks of Crawley’s. His cousin, Ashley, plays among Europe’s elite with Manchester United, and the younger of the two, Lewis became a red devil by joining from Yeovil Town in July, his dynamic pace and excellent work rate makes him the perfect catalyst for new boss Mark Yates to have starting attacks, but with new ideas and players constantly entering the dressing room, he may be forced into playing in some of his more uncharacteristic positions this term.
In striker Izale McLeod they have a source of guaranteed goals. McLeod has proved again and again throughout his career, with the likes of MK Dons, Barnet, and Charlton that he is one of the most potent forwards in the Football League. It seems strange to me that McLeod has never been handed a fair shot at the second tier, and this drop down to League Two may prove to be a mindless move on the part of the 30-year-old.
With many of the squad sticking around for another season with the Red Devils, the team should have naturally gelled through the summer. Winger Gwion Edwards will look to improve on his first full season in the football League. While defender Sonny Bradley and Lanre Oyebanjo, who joined from Portsmouth and York City respectively, will again be playing League Two football. The experience and know-how of their newly appointed manager should shine through, and with three automatic places available for them to shoot at. They should land amongst the leagues strongest sides.