Manager - Nigel Clough
56-year-old Nigel Clough, son of the late football legend Brian Clough, has had an extensive career both on the field and on the touchline. In his playing career, Clough made 311 appearances for Nottingham Forest, scoring 101 goals. After this, the forward played 39 times for both Manchester City and Liverpool, before playing over ten years for Burton Albion between 1998-2008, claiming 227 appearances for the Brewers. Clough was also capped by England 14 times, failing to score.
In October 1998, he moved into management when he accepted the role of player-manager at Burton Albion in the Southern Football League Premier Division. Where he stayed in the non-leagues for ten years until 2008, where he won a December Manager of the Month award in the Conference Premier.
Then Clough moved to Derby County, where he spent four years in the championship until 2013, when he was sacked for sitting in 14th position after nine games. He left the club after being Derby’s longest serving manager in over a decade. Clough spent 18 months at Sheffield United where he led the Blades to the semi-finals of both the FA Cup and League Cup.
Clough then led Burton Albion to the Championship for the first time in their history after taking over from Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbaink in 2015, before joining Mansfield in 2020 where he has made improvements to the side over two years in League Two.
Star man - Matty Longstaff
22-year-old Matty Longstaff is a stand-out name in League Two this season, after his loan move from Newcastle United.
Longstaff made his first-team debut for Newcastle United in August 2019, starting against Leicester in the League Cup. He then scored in the 72nd minute of his Premier League debut, in a 1-0 win against Manchester United in October. The goal was later voted as Premier League Goal of the Month. He then went on to score in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford, the opening goal in a 4–1 defeat.
The midfielder was loaned to Aberdeen in Scotland at the beginning of the season, but was recalled after only playing five games. Longstaff joined Clough at Mansfield in January and has already made a big impact, scoring four goals in 11 games from holding midfield.
Last time out (Crawley 1-2 Mansfield)
We lost out narrowly to Mansfield in November whenOllie Hawkins opened the scoring in the 24th minute when he was left with too much space and finished off Ryan Stirk's cross.
After a dry first half, it didn’t take the Reds long to equalise in the second period as James Tilley netted a stunning strike from the edge of the box for his fourth goal in as many games.
Mansfield retook the lead in the 72nd minute when Rhys Oates collected a through ball and slotted home what proved to be the winner.
Manager - Matt Gray
Ex-Crawley assistant Matt Gray has led newly-promoted Sutton to the play-off places at the time of writing in a very successful season for the Amber and Chocolates that included a trip to Wembley in the Papa John’s Trophy final, where they lost out in extra-time to Rotherham United.
After retiring as a player within non-league, Gray got his first coaching role at Eastleigh where he was assistant manager. He then became assistant at Aldershot Town before joining the Reds under the late Dermot Drummy.
In December 2018, Matt Gray was offered a coaching role at Sutton United before being appointed first-team manager in May 2019. In his second season, Gray led Sutton to the football league for the first time in their history and was given Manager of the year award.
Star man - David Ajiboye
Ajiboye joined Brighton & Hove Albion as a scholar in 2015 and had a loan spell with Worthing in 2017. He was released by Brighton in summer 2018 having failed to make an appearance for the club, and joined former loan club Worthing.
Between 2018-19, Ajiboye scored 16 goals in 34 appearances for Worthing in the Isthmian League, and after a season he joined Sutton United, where he has already made 107 appearances.
Last time out (Crawley 0-1 Sutton)
Crawley suffered a narrow loss at home to Sutton United in October after putting in a strong performance.
Substitute Isaac Olaofe scored the winner after a mix-up in the Crawley penalty area left him with the simplest of headers, which he converted in the 84th minute.
Crawley’s best chance of the game came minutes earlier when Nick Tsaroulla was bowled over in the penalty area, winning a spot-kick. Unfortunately, Tom Nichols couldn’t convert in what proved to be a decisive moment in the game.
Manager - Richie Wellens
Orient Boss Richie Wellens started his playing career through the youth ranks at Manchester United, but joined Blackpool in 2000 for first-time senior football. The midfielder played 191 times for the Seasiders in a five-year spell, before making a move to Oldham Athletic and then Doncaster Rovers.
Wellens then made 129 appearances for Leicester City, before again returning to Doncaster. He also played for Ipswich, Shrewsbury, Salford and Macclesfield in his 18-year playing career.
In July 2017, Wellens returned to Oldham as a first-team coach, before becoming interim manager in September and achieving an unbeaten run of five games which earned him the full-time position. Wellens left the club after they were relegated to League Two.
Wellens was appointed at Swindon Town in 2018 after Phil Brown’s departure. He won the league two title with the Robins in the 2019/20 season on PPG after the season was curtailed early due to COVID-19.
He then joined up with Salford City in November, but only lasted five months before he was let go, next joining Doncaster where he also only lasted six months in the job.
Wellens was appointed Leyton Orient boss in March of this year and has done a fantastic job so far in East London.
Star man - Aaron Drinan
Irish striker Aaron Drinan has had a solid season for Orient this term, scoring 12 league goals and assisting five. The 23-year-old started his senior career at Irish side Waterford, before making a move to Ipswich Town, making 22 first-team appearances whilst having loan spells at Sutton, Waterford, GAIS and Ayr United.
Drinan has won seven caps for Republic of Ireland U21 and joined Leyton Orient on a two-year deal for an undisclosed fee in June 2021. This season, Drinan has formed a great partnership with Harry Smith, and the pair have 25 league goals between them at the time of writing.
Last time out (Leyton Orient 1-2 Crawley)
John Yems’ Crawley achieved three big points in East London in December after a terrific display in front of over 383 away supporters. George Francomb gave us the lead before the visitors equalized with a freak goal that ricocheted off of Glenn Morris. Kwesi Appiah was the man to put us back ahead only moments later in the second-half.
It was a brilliantly worked Crawley move that started with Francomb in midfield, the skipper found Davies with a delightful pass that set the wing-back clean through on the right flank. Davies picked out Appiah at the back post, leaving the striker plenty of time to convert past Vigouroux.
Manager - John Sheridan
57-year-old John Sheridan has had both an extensive playing career and managerial career, taking charge of eleven different clubs, and representing eight on the pitch from 1981 to 2004. Sheridan started his senior career at Leeds where he gained 230 appearances in a seven year spell at the club. Sheridan then spent seven years at Sheffield Wednesday where he played 199 times.
He then represented Birmingham City, Bolton Wanderers and Doncaster Rovers before spening six years at Oldham Athletic, playing 144 times before retiring from the game and jumping into management.
After caretaker roles at Oldham in his final playing years, Sheridan took the job full-time in 2006. The Latics boss has also managed Chesterfield, Plymouth Argyle, Newport County, Notts County, Fleetwood Town, Carlisle United, Waterford, Wigan Athletic and Swindon Town.
Star man - Dylan Bahamboula
Oldham’s Congolese winger Dylan Bahamboula has been their star man over the past few seasons, as Reds saw his talents in our home defeat to the Latics last season, when Bahamboula scored and earned man of the match.
Bahamboula was born in France but represents Congo on an international basis, making 10 senior appearances for the African nation so far. He started his career at AS Monaco, where he spent four years in the academy before representing AS Monaco B on 46 occasions, scoring seven goals. He was loaned to Paris FC before a permanent move to Dijon.
Before his move to England in 2020, Bahamboula did some travelling, first off joining Romanian top flight side Astra Giurgiu and then Algerian side CS Constantine. In 2019, he moved to Bulgaria to play for Tsarsko Selo, where he was part of a huge win over CSKA Sofia.
Since joining Oldham two years ago, Dylan has shone at Boundary Park and has scored nine goals and 11 assists.
Last time out (Crawley 2-2 Oldham)
Crawley earned a point against the Latics in March when Ashley Nadesan’s quickfire double gave Yems’ men a second-half lead, but Christopher Missilou’s impressive strike levelled the scores.
Oldham’s lead only lasted a couple of minutes as Craig headed long towards Nichols who teed up Nadesan with a neat touch and blasted the ball first time on the edge of the box into the bottom-left corner bringing Crawley level.
Crawley didn’t stop there and used their momentum from the equaliser to keep pushing and only minutes after equalising, Nadesan got himself a brace and put Crawley in the lead as he made a pacey run which split the Oldham defence before slotting the ball cooly into the bottom-right corner putting the Red Devils 2-1 up. Missilou equalised ten minutes later with a cracking finish which caught Crawley off guard.