The 39-year-old joined Salford City in May of this year from Manchester United where he had progressed as a coach through the Academy where he once played.
As a player, the Stretford born midfielder came through the United academy and had loans at Burnley and Coventry City before moves to Blackpool and Oldham Athletic where a serious injury curtailed his spell. After overcoming injury, Neil played in the Bosnian league before returning to the UK and moving into coaching with Aston Villa, eventually returning to United.
After working at Aston Villa, Wood re-joined United as a coach and progressed from the Under-13s through to the Under-23s. In his first season with the Under-23s they won promotion from PL2 Division 2, and he has also overseen the development of players like Di’Shon Bernard, Anthony Elanga, and James Garner amongst many others.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Midfielder Ryan Watson joined the academy of Wigan Athletic in 2010. He signed professional terms in 2011 and played for the team's development squad throughout the 2011–12 season. After a brief loan spell with Accrington Stanley, Watson was released by Wigan at the end of the 2012–13 season where he went on to join Leicester.
After loans to Northampton Town, Watson joined Barnet in 2016. After two successful seasons MK Dons came calling before he returned to Northampton a year after. The midfielder excelled at the Cobblers before making another move to Tranmere and then Salford in 2021.
Watson has been essential for Salford City this season under Neil Wood, playing alongside new signing Elliot Watt in the centre of midfield. Watson scored a 90th minute equaliser in Salford’s last league outing against Steve Evans’ high-flying Stevenage.
Welshman Tom King will likely be in between the sticks for Salford City tomorrow night. He joined the club in the summer of 2021 after reaching a play-off final with Newport County.
King made 52 appearances over the course of his two seasons in South Wales and even scored a goal from his own penalty area last season against Cheltenham Town.
The former Crystal Palace youth goalkeeper and England U17 international spent most of his career with Millwall but only ever made appearances in League One for the Dockers. He spent most of his time out on loan, featuring for Welling United, Braintree Town, Stevenage and AFC Wimbledon over the four and a half years he was based in East London. King has also been called up to the Welsh national senior squad.
Last season King was the Ammies’ number one playing 36 league games. King has started every competitive game this season, proving a key figure for new manager Neil Wood.
24-year-old forward Callum Hendry joined the Ammies having left Scottish Premier League side St Johnstone at the conclusion of the 2021-22 season. After starting his career in the youth sides at Blackburn Rovers, Callum moved north of the border to Scotland to play in the Scottish Premier League for St Johnstone, in time for the start of the 2017-18 season.
Hendry found loan moves, including to Aberdeen and more recently Kilmarnock in the Scottish Championship where he scored four goals. Last season was Callum’s most fruitful to date, having scored 14 goals across all competitions, including eight goals in 19 Scottish Premier League appearances.
This season Hendry has started every league game up top, but now his strike partner Brandon Thomas-Asante has departed to West Bromwich Albion. Hendry has netted once against Mansfield Town in the season opener, and has yet to find another.
HEAD TO HEAD
Crawley have had five previous meetings with the Ammies in League Two, since their promotion from the National League in 2019.
The Reds have only conceded three times against Salford, keeping three clean sheets. Salford lost narrowly when they last visited the People’s Pension Stadium; a Tom Nichols strike in the 21st minute was enough to give the Reds all three points back in March.
Last season at Peninsula Stadium we lost out 2-1 on a Tuesday night in March, as goals from Brandon Thomas-Asante and Jordan Turnbull put the hosts two ahead before Tom Nichols drew one back late on.
The away fixture the season before saw the Reds go behind from a James Wilson strike, but the scores were levelled through Captain George Francomb in the second-half, as we picked up a deserved away point.
In the season previous to that, results were similar in that Crawley won at home, and drew away. Goals from Bez Lubala and Nathan Ferguson meant the Reds won 2-0 in one of the most dominant performances of the last few years. The away fixture ended in a goalless draw, when Salford again were bookies’ favourites.
HOW THEY BET*
Salford City 4/6
Crawley Town 19/5
*Odds correct as of betting partners Sky Bet at time of writing. Please gamble responsibly.