Budget cuts will stall signings

Signing another Matt Tubbs or Tyrone Barnett over the summer is even more unlikely with the Crawley playing budget for next season further slashed.

The current campaign – which ended on Saturday with Crawley securing tenth place in their first season in League One – already saw the club shift a number of expensive players off the wage bill such as John Akinde and Claude Davis.

Now the Crawley Observer understands that the owners sanctioned considerable further reductions in the wage bill three weeks ago as they look to ease the sale of the club, leaving boss Richie Barker again forced to bring in free transfers and loan signings.

Strikers Tubbs and Barnett reportedly cost the club more than £100,000 before being sold on for close to £2m combined in 2012. Asked whether similar money would be spent before the start of the next season Barker replied: “Very unrealistic, extremely unrealistic.”

And he added: “We’re not going to be able to have too many (new signings) because we haven’t got the budget to do that, so if we can keep what we’ve got we’ll not be a million miles away.”

Out of the current squad only Mike Jones cost anything in transfer fees, while star midfielder Hope Akpan was sold to Reading for around £300,000 in January.

Observer sources have indicated next season’s budget will be one of the lowest in League One, and with club’s like Steve Evans’s Rotherham coming up with strong finances, with traditionally big clubs Bristol City and almost certainly Wolves comeing down, Barker expects League One to be even more competitive next season.