With their league form in tatters Crawley Town are stumbling through another season of struggle trying to avoid relegation to the National League. But their hopes of salvation could boosted by a decent run in the FA Cup.
In the past few seasons Crawley gained their place in football’s folklore as they faced Manchester United at Old Trafford in the 5th Round in 2011. The home side won by a single goal but the Reds came very close to forcing a replay as Richard Brodie’s header hit the crossbar in added time. The following season they reached the same stage of the competition before bowing out to Premier League Stoke City.
Emulating such successes proved beyond the Reds until this season when they enjoyed their best ever run in the Carabao Cup eliminating Norwich City and gaining revenge on the Potters. Ironically it was fellow League Two side Colchester United who stopped them reaching the quarter finals.
SEE ALSO Reds robbed in torrid afternoon against The Grecians - Crawley Town opinion | It’s a difficult time being a Reds’ fan at the moment - Crawley Town opinion
Now the FA Cup is up and running and after beating Scunthorpe United this Saturday sees the visit of high flying League One club Fleetwood Town with the chance of a clash with one of the big boys awaiting the winner.
That could be Crawley Town and oddly I think the draw might have been the wrong one for the visitors and could test the tactical nous of the Trawlermen’s manager Joey Barton.
Fleetwood will go into this tie as strong favourites given the relative league placing of the two clubs. That in itself won’t do them any favours as it sets them up for a fall. There is nothing much in it for them as their fans will view us as a small town club, and merely a stepping stone to a possible trip to, say, Anfield.
The Cod Army won’t travel in numbers because of course Fleetwood is itself a small town less than a quarter of the size of Crawley. As for club history they haven’t got much. In fact it is very similar to ours. The big difference comes in current form where they are punching above their weight.
Their hoped for prize of reaching the Championship could well be a poisoned chalice. Just ask Yeovil Town.
I reckon this tie is too close to call. If Crawley rise to the occasion (and I know it’s a big ‘if’) then they are a match for anybody in the lower divisions. If optimism counts I reckon we could still have the edge as Fleetwood will be aware that they have more to lose.
Cross all your fingers and think positively.