Reds kick off their ninth season as a League club by making their longest trip on opening day when we head to Carlisle United, the team we faced in our final away match of last season back in April.
THE FORM GUIDE
Pre-season games are a notorious guide to form but, as you're asking, Reds lost all four warm-up games. Carlisle's most eye-catching pre-season result was a 3-0 home win over Tranmere Rovers. Last Saturday they made the trip to Scotland to face newly promoted Premier League outfit Ross County and lost 2-0.
Our record against Carlisle since we first met in the Football League is one win, four draws and seven defeats. That victory came in our first ever league trip to Brunton Park in September 2012, when almost 200 Reds fans made the mammoth journey to Cumbria.
After a goalless first half, Nathan Byrne and Nicky Adams scored in the space of ten minutes to seal a memorable 2-0 win and send the travelling army home happy.
We then went on to draw three successive games with the Cumbrians – two 1-1 draws followed by a goalless stalemate at the Broadfield Stadium in April 2014. Carlisle then won three on the trot between November 2015 and October 2016.
Firstly, Charlie Wyke’s double and Jabo Ibehre’s goal left us down 3-1 with Rhys Murphy’s second half finish a consolation while in the return fixture in West Sussex Wyke was on target again late on to snatch a 1-0 victory.
The hosts went 3-0 up inside the first half in Cumbria in November 2016 with Mark Connolly scoring our consolation in a 3-1 defeat in second-half stoppage time.
Two years ago saw us involved in a thrilling 3-3 draw with United here at home. James Collins’ brace in the first 30 minutes – one of them a penalty – saw us race into a 2-0 lead before the visitors pegged us back to 2-2 through Jabo Ibehre and former Red Jamie Proctor.
Ibehre’s second turned the game on its head in the 59th minute, but Jimmy Smith’s stoppage-time equaliser spared Crawley’s blushes and earned us the point which sealed our League Two status for another season.
There was another high-octane encounter in the first part of the 2017-18 season, which saw three red cards. After a goalless first half Hallam Hope put Carlisle ahead just five minutes into the second period. Richie Bennett was sent off with 15 minutes to go and then, after a clash in stoppage time, Josh Yorwerth and Tom Parkes were both dismissed but Carlisle held on to claim a 1-0 victory.
The Reds came from two goals down to snatch a point in our next trip to Brunton Park in March 2018. Hope and Bennett were involved again as they both scored a goal each either side of half time to put Carlisle 2-0 in front. Karlan Ahearne-Grant was the man to save the day for Town as his brace secured a valuable point and an impressive comeback on a snowy afternoon.
Last December, Dominic Poleon scored twice at The People's Pension Stadium but Carlisle ran out 3-2 winners.
We then travelled north in April for our final away game of last season and against a side still chasing the play-offs found ourselves 4-0 after 35 minutes. Ashley Nathaniel-George pulled one back before the break and an own goal made it 4-2. Infact Reds squandered some gilt-edged chances in the second half to earn a point.
Carlisle boss Steven Pressley admits he doesn't quite know what to expect when the season kicks off on Saturday. He said: "As with every first game, it’s difficult for us to understand fully as to what to expect from the opposition, although we have watched their last two pre-season performances.
"You never get a true reflection of how a team will play from a friendly game, and that’s why the important factor will be for ourselves to concentrate on delivering the phases of play we’ve continually worked on these past few weeks and, subsequently, we will get a good performance from that.
"It won't be easy, no game is at this level, but it's a game we are looking forward to. When the fixtures were released the one thing I was pleased about was that we had a home game, because it gives our supporters the chance to get behind their team.
"A good performance will lift everybody, and I'm looking forward to hearing the fans cheer the lads on as we look to open the season in the right way."
Ashley Nadesan is back in training after recovering from an ankle injury but a return to competitive action against one of his former clubs may have come too soon for the striker. Joe McNerney (back) faces a fitness test after missing the Portsmouth friendly but otherwise Gabriele Cioffi has a fully-fit squad to chose from. A party of 19 players were due to head north on Friday morning from Sussex.
THE MATCH OFFICIALS
James Oldham will referee his first EFL game on Saturday when he takes charge.
Last season Mr Oldham was on the National League list and took charge of 19 games including the play-off semi-final between Fylde and Salford. He issued 55 yellow and three red cards across those 19 matches.
His assistants on Saturday are Geoff Liddle and Helen Byrne. Barry Gordon is the fourth officlal.
HOW THEY BET*
Crawley win: 13/5
Carlisle win: Evens
*Odds correct with EFL partners Sky Bet at time of writing. Please gamble responsibly.
Tickets are on sale until 4pm on Friday from the Box Office and you can buy on the day at Carlisle.
Click here for more information.
The game will be available for UK subscribers of iFollow from 2.55pm with live commentary from BBC Sussex & Surrey Sport's Gary Smith and summariser Ken Blackmore.
You must be a subscriber to listen (UK) to this service. You can subscribe here. Overseas users can also watch the action live.
There will also be coverage across our social media channels throughout the afternoon. @crawleytown on Twitter, Crawley Town FC on Facebook and crawley_town_fc on Instagram followed by post-match reaction and a match report.
COME ON YOU REDS!