The Reds have only faced Barrow on five occasions in the previous 12 years. The first meeting came in 2010 as the Reds played out a 1-1 draw with the Bluebirds at Holker Street. Crawley were sat at the top of what was then The Blue Square Bet Premier League when they made the mammoth journey to Barrow. Matt Tubbs put Crawley ahead in the first half with a close-range finish. The Bluebirds equalised from the penalty spot early in the second half after Pablo Mills fouled James Owen inside the penalty area.
The second meeting with Barrow came with a much better result for Crawley. The Red Devils recorded a 3-2 victory at The People’s Pension Stadium. Craig McAllister opened the scoring for the home side before Andy Cook equalised for Barrow. Bluebirds goalkeeper Clark Masters then brought down McAllister to concede a penalty, which Richard Brodie converted. Barrow struck back as Paul Rutherford scored from inside the box, but Crawley skipper Pablo Mills headed home a late winner for Steve Evans’ side.
In Crawley’s recent fixture against Barrow, James Tilley scored the only goal of the game as the Reds picked up all three points in Cumbria. 69 Red Devils fans made the mammoth 490 mile round trip to Holker Street and were rewarded when Tilley swept home a brilliant finish from the edge of the box to secure victory for the away side. The Reds were without a win in six games prior to the match, so this result proved to be vital in getting their season back on track.
In late March, Barrow announced that Mark Cooper’s contract had been terminated by mutual consent, leaving the manager’s role vacant. Prolific EFL manager Phil Brown was appointed as Manager just days later. Brown has endured three tough defeats in his first three games in charge of the Bluebirds, losing out to Carlisle, Leyton Orient and high flying Port Vale.
ONES TO WATCH
Paul Farman - Goalkeeper
Goalkeeper Paul Farman has played all 39 league games for Barrow this season, keeping 12 clean sheets in the process. Experienced goalkeeper Farman became former Barrow manager Mark Cooper’s second signing as Barrow boss when he made a move across the county from Cumbrian rivals Carlisle United. The North Shields born star was on the books at Newcastle United in his youth before making a senior breakthrough at Blyth Spartans and then clinching a move to Gateshead in 2009. Farman enjoyed three years with The Heed Army but he excelled during a loan stay at Lincoln City in 2012 and went on to make a permanent move to Sincil Bank that summer.
Oliver Banks - Midfielder
Central midfielder Oliver Banks could cause the Reds a threat this afternoon. The 29-year-old currently boasts 9 league goals to his name this season, making him the leading goalscorer at Holker Street. The talented midfielder became a Barrow player in January 2020 when he put pen to paper on a deal with The Bluebirds after leaving Tranmere Rovers. Banks played an instrumental role in Rovers’ promotion from League Two in 2018/19, producing a series of consistent displays and memorable moments, including a stunning play-off semi-final goal against Forest Green Rovers.
Aaron Amadi-Holloway - Forward
Experienced forward Aaron Amadi-Holloway joined The Bluebirds on loan from Burton Albion in January 2022 on a deal that runs until the end of the season. The 6ft 2” striker had been playing in the Indian Premier League for East Bengal until he was brought back to England by The Brewers last summer. A former Cardiff City youngster, Amadi-Holloway has a wealth of EFL experience having worn the colours of Newport County, Wycombe Wanderers, Fleetwood Town, Oldham Athletic and Shrewsbury Town. The striker also sampled life down under during the 2020/21 campaign when he was on the books at Brisbane Roar.
Visitors Barrow sit in 21st place ahead of Saturday’s game against the Reds, and only have a three-point gap between them and 23rd placed Stevenage, who currently are placed in the relegation zone. This season Barrow have scored 34 goals, which is the joint lowest in the league in comparison to Crawley’s 49.
The Bluebirds have only conceded 47 goals, which is less than the 55 let in by John Yems’ side this season, despite there being eight league places and 14 points between the sides after 39 games.
Phil Brown’s side only have one win in their last 11 league games, but have only conceded more than two goals once in this period, proving that defence may not be Brown’s biggest issue. Six goals have been scored by Barrow in their last 11 and this seems to be the problem in Cumbria ahead of their end-of-season relegation battle.
HOW THEY BET*
Crawley Town 6/5
*Odds courtesy of league betting partners Sky Bet at time of writing. Please gamble responsibly.