Tonight the Reds return to The People’s Pension Stadium following our impressive 4-2 victory over Barrow AFC on Saturday afternoon. More than double the quantity of fans will be present tonight against Bradford City as Crawley look to continue their unbeaten run in Sky Bet League Two, as we currently sit in 13th position.
Since the impressive Emirates FA Cup victory at Plough Lane against AFC Wimbledon, the Reds have hit form and are unbeaten in four successive competitive games, even believing that away draws at Mansfield Town and Colchester United should have been wins based on our dominant performances.
In our last game, Reds returned to The People’s Pension Stadium after three successive away fixtures, this time welcoming roughly 650 fans who were allowed to watch for the first time since March, in a clash against Barrow. Crawley opened the scoring through Max Watters in the first-half, but the away side worked hard and took the lead early on in the second, with goals from Josh Kay and Sam Hird. Eight minutes later, Tom Nichols headed against the post before the ball dropped to an alert Watters who tapped in for his second to bring the game level.
Connor Brown picked up a second yellow card as the game drew level, meaning the Crawley pressure grew tremendously. Tom Nichols converted a cool penalty after Ashley Nadesan was brought down to give the Reds the lead, before Max Watters completed his hat-trick in injury time to make it 4-2, as Nadesan was there to square it across for Watters to poke home with ease.
Today’s opponents have had a difficult start to the League Two season, and have consequently sacked manager Stuart McCall following their 3-1 away defeat to Oldham Athletic. The Bantams sit in 22nd position in the lead up to the game, with five consecutive league losses ahead of today’s clash with Crawley, who know not to let that fact distract them.
Since 2011, the two sides have met on eight occasions, with both Crawley and Bradford winning four of those games each. Three of Crawley’s four home games in this period were won, including the match in January 2020 where the Reds went against the odds to win 2-1, thanks to an Ollie Palmer brace before James Vaughan scored a consolation late on.
Before that, the Bantams had won the previous four outings, with three coming at Valley Parade and one at The People’s Pension Stadium, in a game that finished 1-3 in League One.
Tonight’s opposition will certainly be a challenge with the talent within the squad. Experienced forwards Clayton Donaldson and Lee Novak are likely to lead the line for the away side, and despite not finding goal scoring form so far this season, the pair could click under new management and find the form that they have displayed in the football league for over ten years.
Donaldson, formerly of Brentford, Birmingham and Sheffield United, has scored in recent 1-2 home defeats to Cheltenham and Oldham, scoring four times in all competitions this season.
Paudie and Anthony O’Connor have partnered Ben Richards-Everton in a back three often this season, as this looks the likely defensive line-up for tonight’s game, unless the interim coaches make any changes to selection or formation.
Reece Grego-Cox is again unavailable for tonight. Josh Doherty and Jake Hesketh are doubts.
HOW THEY BET
Crawley Town - 6/5
Draw - 12/5
Bradford City - 2/1
The match will be streamed live on iFollow as you can hear from Gary Smith and Ken Blackmore from 7:40.