Crawley Town's Joe McNerney feels improved away form could lead to League Two play-off place ahead of Mansfield Town trip

Joe McNerney rises to put Crawley Town 2-0 up in their 3-0 home win over Crewe Alexandra on Saturday. Picture by Steve Robards.
Joe McNerney rises to put Crawley Town 2-0 up in their 3-0 home win over Crewe Alexandra on Saturday. Picture by Steve Robards.

Crawley Town defender Joe McNerney felt that anyone in League Two’s top-half could realistically make a charge for the play-offs this season.

Ahead of the Reds’ trip to Mansfield Town on Tuesday evening in League Two the centre-half believes, along with boss Gabriele Cioffi, that an improvement in away form could see Crawley challenge for a play-off spot.

He said: “I think virtually any team in the top-half of the league has got to be aiming for the play-offs with a good run.

“If you’re solid away from home, which we haven’t really been but there’s plenty of time to fix that, anyone can be in with a shout.

“Hopefully the Crewe win will lift everyone. If we can be a bit more professional away from home, and we don’t concede early goals or soft goals and we are a bit more defensively solid, then anything can happen.

“Every game in this league is winnable. You’ve got strong sides in this league, but every game is winnable, no matter who you are playing."

SEE ALSO Crawley Town's Joe McNerney: 'Glenn Morris is the best goalkeeper I've played with' | Crawley Town verdict: Reds in a great position going into the hectic Christmas fixture period | Five things we learned from a mixed week for Crawley Town | Defender Joe McNerney pleased Crawley Town dug in to take Crewe Alexandra win but felt Reds rode their luck in the first half

Tuesday night’s opponents sit fourth in the division and scored a last-minute equaliser on Saturday to take a point off table-topping Lincoln City.

This result sees the Stags unbeaten in 12 league games, with their last, and so far, only, league defeat coming on Saturday, September 15 in a 2-1 home loss against Exeter City.

After notching up 32 points from 19 games, just five points off automatic promotion, McNerney is predicting a tough encounter against an in-form side.

The defender added: “They’ve started very well Mansfield. They’ve got a strong squad and it’s going to be a tough game.

“I haven’t seen a lot of them play but I know they’ve got Tyler Walker and Danny Rose, and he scored a lot of goals last season, so they’ve got a lot of talented players.

“It’ll be a tough test especially going all the way up there on a Tuesday night. It’s at their home ground and they’ll be looking to win so it’ll be another tough battle for us."

After Crawley take on the Stags on Tuesday, the Reds will then have a break of 11 days before they resume league play with a home test against Northampton Town on Saturday, December 8.

The defender felt that the players were looking forward to the rest, joking that Reds’ top-scorer Ollie Palmer would be relaxing by jetting off to Spain, but also believed a good result against Mansfield may hinder momentum going into the break.

McNerney said: “If we get a good result against Mansfield it might be a bit of a shame (to have a break). Mansfield is going to be a very tough game but it’s always nice to have a break mid-way through the season when it comes up.

“Everyone will be doing different things. I think Ollie said he was going away to Ibiza.

“It’s a nice opportunity to spend the weekend with the families basically. A lot of the boys have got kids and wives and you don’t get to see them on Saturdays, or Fridays if there is an away game.

“We’ll maybe have a little blowout on the Wednesday or Thursday, enjoy the weekend, and we’ll be back in training on the Monday.”

Kick-off at Field Mill tonight is at 7:45pm.