Crawley will take on Tranmere Rovers this Saturday 15 April at Broadfield Stadium in a very important Sky Bet League Two fixture. The Reds will be hoping to pick up three important points on our quest for football league survival.
The Caretaker Manager - Ian Dawes
Ian Dawes became Tranmere Rovers’ new assistant manager in August 2020, replacing
Mike Jackson. A UEFA A License holder, Dawes’ coaching career began at Liverpool
Football Club, where he served as an Academy coach for close to a decade. Next on the horizon was an exciting prospect of managing in the Maltese Premier League with Floriana Football Club. After a season abroad, Dawes took up the role of Head of Coaching (working with Under-18s) at Shrewsbury Town. It was here that links were formed with former Tranmere manager Mike Jackson.
Two years at Shrewsbury were followed up by a six-month stint in Wales as first-team manager of Bangor City and two separate coaching roles at Blackpool. Dawes began his playing career at Everton before joining Merseyside neighbours Liverpool, where he spent eight years. He enjoyed a spell playing in Canada and later represented several part-time clubs, including Welsh Premier League side Caernarfon Town in 2008/09. Dawes continued to serve his coaching Role at Tranmere after Jackson’s departure and was kept on by new Manager Keith Hill and then by Micky Mellon, who was returning for a second spell at the club. After Mellon’s departure in March, Dawes was named as the club’s Interim Manager.
Hemmings was signed on a two-and-a-half-year contract from Burton Albion when he was recruited by Tranmere Rovers on a permanent basis during the 2022 January transfer window. Hemmings bagged 19 times in 54 league appearances for the Brewers and was subject to interest from a number of clubs aside from Rovers.
A prolific forward at professional level, the Burton upon Trent-born striker has previously represented the likes of Rangers and Dundee FC. Spells in the Scottish Premiership have been followed up by EFL experience at Barnsley, Mansfield Town, Notts County and Oxford United. Hemmings has scored over 130 goals to date in his career and has expressed his desire to deliver in the final third during his Prenton Park stay. Hemmings has scored eight goals in 33 Sky Bet League Two appearances this season.
Josh Dacres-Cogley joined Tranmere Rovers in June 2021, becoming one of Micky Mellon’s first summer signings. The 25-year-old began his career at Birmingham City as a youngster, and progressed his way through the club’s academy and into the first-team. During his time at St Andrew’s, Cogley made over 20 appearances in the Sky Bet Championship, and more in various cup competitions.
Josh may be familiar to many Reds fans as he spent time on loan at Crawley Town during the 2019/20 season. Dacres-Cogley impressed during his short spell at the Broadfield Stadium. He was signed under Gabriel Cioffi and made close to 20 appearances during his loan spell with the Red Devils. Josh went on to sign for Tranmere Rovers in the next summer window and has become a crucial part of Rovers’ back-line.
Hewelt was initially recruited on a short-term contract until the end of the 2021/22 season from Bamber Bridge, and the Polish shot-stopper spent the remainder of the campaign back at the Northern Premier League (Premier Division) side. Hewelt earned his big break in football at Everton, who he represented for three years at youth level and won two separate Premier League 2 titles with. The 25-year-old left the club in 2019 to return to his native country, signing for second-tier side Miedz Legnica.
A move back to England followed in September 2021 as he agreed to a move to Bamber Bridge, who were vying for promotion. Some would say that this has been Hewelt’s breakthrough season. The young shot-stopper has been filling in for the missing Joe Murphy but has taken his opportunity literally with two hands. Hewelt played a big part in Tranmere’s 1-0 victory over Swindon Town by keeping an impressive clean sheet.
SEASON SO FAR
It’s fair to say that Tranmere have had a solid season in League Two, currently sitting in 11th position with five games remaining. The Lilywhites currently have 53 points and sit 13 points beneath the play-off spots, meaning previous ambitions to be promoted are now looking impossible.
Tranmere fans would have expected a promotion chase this season, and they were tipped by many for a higher finish. Their lack of goals has been the noticeable difference this year, with only 39 scored in 41 games, four goals fewer than Crawley, who sit 12 places below them in the league table. However, since the beginning of the season they have been a solid defensive side, conceding 42, fewer than the likes of Salford and Mansfield who are above them in the table.
Tranmere have two joint team top-scorers so far this campaign, with forward Kane Hemmings and winger Josh Hawkes both netting eight and recording three assists each.
HEAD TO HEAD
Since Tranmere’s promotion back into the football league in 2018, Crawley have faced them on eight occasions, winning three out of these meetings and losing five. The share of goals amongst these fixtures has changed in recent times, as four of the last five games have ended with a 1-0 scoreline. Before this, Crawley recorded 3-1 and 4-0 home victories in displays that many Reds fans will remember. Goals from Ashley Nathaniel George, Filipe Morais and Panutche Camara sealed the 3-1 win in 2019 before we struck four goals past them in October 2020 behind closed doors, with Max Watters, Tom Nichols, Jordan Tunnicliffe and Tyler Frost all on the scoresheet.
Our most recent four games against Tranmere have ended in defeat, but Crawley fans will remember our last victory against the Lilywhites in 2021, which was again played behind closed doors but this time at Prenton Park. Tom Nichols was the scorer of a goal worthy of many an award, flicking majestically after finishing off a slick team move.
Crawley hosted Tranmere in April of 2014 in League One, with Matt Tubbs and Gwion Edwards scoring goals either side of the break.
Crawley’s last match against Tranmere came only less than two months ago on the last day of February. It was a Tuesday night kick-off in a rearranged fixture that was meant to be played earlier in the season. Crawley went into the game off the back of a run of five without a win, but the performance looked much improved in the first-half as we went into the break level and goalless.
After 68 minutes, Tranmere took the lead through Jordan Turnbull who embarked on a forward run from defence before eventually meeting a neat pass with a perfect finish. Despite taking the lead, the home side were on the back foot for most of the game with Crawley looking the better of the two sides.
Crawley’s pressure paid off with an awarded penalty when Joel Lynch got forward and was tripped in the area. Dom Telford stepped up but blazed his effort over the bar. The game finished 1-0 to the hosts despite Crawley’s higher xG of 1.95, compared to Tranmere’s figure of just 0.35.
HOW THEY BET*
Crawley Town 6/4
Tranmere Rovers 7/4
*Odds correct at the time of writing from league betting partners Sky Bet. Please gamble responsibly.