Crawley Town 'ready for a challenge' — Gabriele Cioffi

Gabriele Cioffi. Photo: PW Sporting Photography
Gabriele Cioffi. Photo: PW Sporting Photography

Crawley Town manager Gabriele Cioffi has acknowledged Reds' upcoming 'tough run' of games but believes his side are up for the challenge.

Crawley suffered their first League Two defeat in six matches following a 3-2 home loss against Walsall yesterday afternoon — ending their best run of form since 2014.

The Reds host Norwich City U21s in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday night before a big test away on Saturday at fourth-placed Forest Green Rovers, who will be going into the game fresh from their 4-0 victory away at Salford City.

Crawley then have a home league tie against Colchester United, just over two weeks before they meet again in the Carabao Cup. In between those games, Reds travel to high-flying Bradford City and Newport County, before facing another play-off challenger in Swindon Town at home.

Speaking after the defeat against Walsall, Cioffi said: "Today we learn. The positive thing is that we're giving consistency.

"We can improve. It's a process of learning.

"You win you are a good manager, you lose you are a bad one. That's football

"We know we have a tough run but we are ready to challenge them."

Sitting tenth in the table, two points short of the play-off places, Cioffi said Reds 'remain in a positive moment'.

He added: "We know that we want to the 50 points as soon as we can.

"I think sometimes to lose is healthy. This is something that can help us."

Bez Lubala surprisingly started on the bench against Walsall but made a positive impact after coming on at half-time.

When asked why the club's top scorer wasn't picked to start, Cioffi said: "Lubala was sick. It was a tough decision but there was a reason.

"Ashley (Nathaniel-George) was good. Why should I play a good player who is sick when I can play a good player who isn't.

"Ashley did really well in the first half and did really well with the penalty."

Ollie Palmer was also absent yesterday through injury.

Cioffi explained: "Ollie has a stress fracture. He's out for a couple of weeks. The players that are out will be out for a while.

"But at the end of the day I really do believe in all my players.

"I think we should talk about what we could do better for the players on the pitch."

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