Chooooo……Chooooo, next up it’s the Railwaymen of Crewe Alexandra and we are grateful to Alex fan 33 year old Neil Price for taking up the challenge to answer our weekly questions. Many Thanks Neil, stay safe and hopefully we will be able to visit the fish & chips shop opposite the away end next season, always something you have to do when visiting Gresty Road. Good luck for the rest of the season.
We are now at the Business end of the season; how do you assess how your season has gone so far and what are your hope’s for the run in?
The season has gone as expected for me, obviously the first aim for any club when coming up from a lower league is to stay up. I think myself and most Crewe fans knew we have enough quality in the squad to not be in a relegation battle. Some hoped for back to back promotion, but the team just lacks that knowhow and ability of seeing a game out, meaning we’ve drawn/lost too many games we should’ve either win/drawn. My hope for the run in is to concentrate on preparing for next season introducing the next generation of academy graduates more.
Where do you think your club will finish up in the league this season?
We’ll finish around 13th, which everyone would’ve absolutely taken at the start of the season albeit there’s a sense of what if amongst the fans.
What has been your best result this season, and of course your worst?
Beating Northampton 2-1 in December with the last kick of the game for me was the best result. Whilst I didn’t go to the game it was the first one that fans were allowed back in the grounds, knowing quite a few fans that rely on watching Crewe for their own mental health it was pleasing for them to be back. As for the game, Northampton scored after 3 mins then we absolutely battered them for 87 mins could’ve won the game 5 times over, thankfully we got the got the winner in the 94th minute which we fully deserved. As for the worst result it was only a few weeks ago against Burton, we conceded 3 of the softest goals you’ve ever seen in the first half. In the 2nd half we showed zero fight or desire for a comeback and saw out a 3-0 defeat.
Has your club talked about season tickets for the 21/22 season? How are they navigating the possibility of no crowds or reduced capacity?
As far as I’m aware nothing’s been mentioned with season tickets. I’m sure the club will wait as long as possible for further government guidelines. During the 2 games we played in front of 2000 crowds, we split the fans over all 4 stands in the ground, so every stand was very sparsely populated.
Which opposition team that you have played has impressed you the most this season?
Lincoln City, the only team I’ve seen that’s massively outplayed us both times (they also beat us in the cup too) this season. They have decent players, the key thing that stood out to me was they seemed to be incredibly well drilled everyone in the team knew exactly what their roles were.
Which player has stood out for your team this season, and which player has come through the ranks and looks a real prospect?
Harry Pickering has been top class this season. He got his move to Blackburn in January, thankfully we were able to do a deal where we loaned him back. Two of our summer signings have shone too, experienced centre back Omar Beckles and Mika Mandron. Omar has been the centre back the club has been crying out for years. Mika whilst his goal scoring record isn’t that great his all round play is brilliant. As always there’s quite a few academy lads in the team and continuing to come through, if I was to just pick one then it’ll be Tommy Lowery he is a brilliant little player in centre midfield. His small stature may prevent clubs higher taking a punt on him but he’s a phenomenal technical footballer.
Are you happy with the business you conducted in January transfer window? Who did you recruit and what are your initial impressions? Or was keeping certain players more key?
We sold both our full backs to Cardiff and Blackburn. Thankfully we were able to loan Pickering back. I was surprised the club seemed to get quite a few loans reinforcements in, in hope to getting a playoff place. We got Nathan Wood and Stephen Walker from Boro, Anthony Evans from Paderborn and Billy Jones from Rotherham. Unfortunately only really Nathan Wood has played regularly but he was dropped the last game. Billy Jones got injured after about 3 games and has gone back to Rotherham. Stephen and Anthony have been bit part players at best. Whilst we wanted to keep hold of our best players, we know Perry Ng and Ryan Wintle probably won’t be at the club by next season so to get money for Perry was a blessing. As it’s likely Ryan will leave the club for free.
Which MK Dons player stands out to you as a game changer in our clash?
If I’m going to be honest in the reverse fixture none of the players really stood out. Going by the stats Scott Fraser would be the obvious one. That said I’ve always been a fan of Josh McEachran and Andrew Surman, they seem decent players at this level.
What style of play can we expect to see from your team?
Very much a passing the ball from the back type of team. We’ll be playing in a 4-3-3 formation, we tried 4-4-2 for a couple of games a few weeks ago we won the first game in the formation, but it didn’t really click the players looked unsure of their roles, so gone back to 4-3-3 which has served us well over the last 2 years.
Have you ever been to Stadium MK, if so, what’s your opinion on it?
Been to the ground a couple of times, a good few years ago now. Have to say the ground is up there with one of the best in league one. For me it’s such a shame that it’s so far away from any train station and the options of pubs nearby too.
Where do you think the MK Dons will finish in the league table?
Very similar to Crewe I suspect settling for mid table, as I predicted us at 13th I’m going to say that the Dons will finish 14th.
From what you have seen, who are your tips for the league title, promotion, and relegation?
I reckon that Hull and Sunderland will go up automatically. Lincoln in the playoffs. To go down I’d say Swindon, Rochdale, Wigan, and AFC Wimbledon.
Can you give us your match prediction?
I reckon it’ll be a really good game of football as there’s not much between the two sides so going for a score draw. I’m saying 2-2.