Crawley Town midfielder Jake Hessenthaler: This year we need to be more consistent
Consistency will be key to Crawley Town’s chances of success this season, according to midfielder Jake Hessenthaler.
The Reds enjoyed an excellent first half of the 2020-21 campaign, flying high in the play-off places following a 1-0 win at Bolton Wanderers on January 2.
Crawley followed this up with an FA Cup giant-killing eight days later, dumping Leeds United out in the third round after a 3-0 win at home in front of the BBC cameras.
But the Reds’ form took a downturn following their famous win over the Whites.
Covid, injuries and a congested fixture list saw Crawley Town tail off in League Two, eventually finishing 12th.
Now the Reds are preparing to open the new season with a trip to newly-promoted Hartlepool United this Saturday – and Hessenthaler wants to see more cohesion in Crawley Town’s results this term.
He said: “We had a really good start to the year. I think after January we were right in there.
“We had a good FA Cup run but after January we had that Covid spell and that knocked us a little bit.
“For this year, we need to replicate what we did at the start of last year, but just try to be a bit more consistent.
“I think towards the end of last year we just weren’t consistent enough.
“We would turn up and roll teams over that you wouldn’t expect us to and then we’d go and get beaten by teams we should probably go and get a result from.
“Last year was quite a new group.
“We had a lot of new players but this pre-season we’ve been working on our partnerships.
“We’ve had a few new faces, which is good. This year we need to be more consistent and replicate the start that we had at the beginning of last year.”
Hessenthaler was nominated for the 2020-21 Fans’ Player of the Year award in his first season at the club.
He joined Crawley Town from Grimsby Town in September of last year and made 46 appearances, scoring once, in his debut campaign for the Reds.
The 27-year-old was delighted to receive the recognition but preferred to heap praise on his teammates.
He added: “It’s nice to be nominated and recognised but I think I speak for everyone when I say it’s a team game. All the boys last year were fantastic.
“Overall we had a good season and it was good for everyone involved.
“But on a personal level, it was good in my first year to come and play well and help the team as much as possible.”
Crawley Town host Hessenthaler’s old club Gillingham in the first round of the Carabao Cup next Tuesday.
The midfielder made 159 appearances for the Gills, scoring seven goals, from 2013 to 2018.
Jake’s father, Andy, is a club legend at Priestfield.
Hessenthaler senior made 303 appearances at the Gills from 1996 to 2006, and also managed the Kent outfit across three different spells.
The 27-year-old is relishing the prospect of lining up against his former club, and paid tribute to his father for giving him advice and encouragement throughout his career.
Hessenthaler said: “It’s always nice to play against a team you have been with.
“It’s a club that is very close to my family and we’ve got a lot of history there.
“We went back there last year actually. I was on the bench for the Checkatrade Trophy game.
“You always look forward to playing against a team that you have played for before.”
He continued: “I speak to my old man a lot. He’s played a lot of games in his career and he’s got a lot of advice which I take on board.
“As I’ve grown up I’ve played more games. When I was younger he knew what to say to me.
“Now he doesn’t really get to watch me much because he’s managing his own team.
“I know when I’ve played well and his advice to me is to just work hard and keep going. I know what my ability is.
“We have that relationship where we just enjoy chatting about their games and our games.”