During the close season we will look at our opponents in the EFL2 this season.
Last Season’s finish: 24th (League One)
Nickname: The Railwaymen
Ground: Gresty Road
A disappointing campaign for the Railwaymen saw them relegated from England’s third tier.
Relegation was confirmed in early April with five games of the season to play - a 3-0 loss at local rivals Port Vale was the final nail in the coffin. A lacklustre start to the campaign saw the Alex win just two of their first 15 matches in the league and left them with it all to do for the rest of the season.
Manager: Steve Davis
Davis had spells in charge of Northwich Victoria and Nantwich Town before he became an assistant at Gresty Road in 2009 under Dario Grady. He took over as first team manager in 2011. His son, Harry, plays in defence for Alex.
Key Man: Brad Inman
The midfielder was his side’s top scorer with 10 goals last season in a disappointing campaign. The Australian started 39 league matches but his consistent performances were unable to help them avoid the drop.
Press View: Richard Sharpe - Stoke Sentinel
Last season in summary
Miserable. Only seven wins all season, relegated by local rivals Port Vale with five games still to play, coupled with some heavy defeats, pitiful performances, points thrown away with late goals conceded and 26 league defeats meant it was a season to forget and very little to smile about. A run of just one win in 23 matches between December and April was particularly hard to watch. Season never gathered any momentum and bar a few glimpses of the potential this team has, it was certainly one to forget.
Goalkeeper Ben Garratt made the most saves of any goalkeeper in the Football League last season and was voted player of the year for a second successive season despite shipping more than 80 goals. Destined to play higher, he has already played more than 100 games for Crewe despite only having just turned 22. A very good shot-stopper, he kept the Alex in countless games last season despite often ending up on the losing side. As for an outfield player, 18-year-old breakthrough player of the year Callum Ainley will be a key member of the squad next year.
Prediction for next season
A first season back in League Two after one of the worst seasons in recent memory, it’s hard to know what to expect, or even what would be seen as a success. The club are quite rightly talking about aiming for a quick return, but it will take several experienced additions to turn around the fortunes of such a group which will once again be made up of young players that have come through the Academy. A safe mid-table finish playing good, attacking football, and maybe a decent cup run, would probably go down well with the fanbase.