'Stoke will be even tougher than Norwich' says Reds boss Cioffi

Crawley Town boss Gabriele Cioffi. Picture by Steve Robards
Crawley Town boss Gabriele Cioffi. Picture by Steve Robards

Crawley Town Head Coach Gabriele Cioffi is under no illusions as to the size of the task facing Reds in tonight's (Tuesday) Carabao Cup third round tie against Stoke City.

A sold-out home crowd will be hoping a Reds side, beaten just twice since the opening day of the season, can repeat the heroics of the second round of the Carabao Cup.

The Potters are second from bottom in the Championship with only one win all season in the League and Cup - but Cioffi is not fooled by those statistics.

The Reds boss said: "It's crazy for anyone to think this is an easier game than Norwich - in fact it will be even more difficult,"

"They have a very strong squad and a good manager. They have been a bit unlucky in recent weeks but there is no question they have quality. They will know what to expect and will be well prepared.

"The challenge for our players is can they repeat what they did against Norwich? Can we get some good fortune again which we need when we play any team from a higher division? Can we respond to what I'm sure will be a strong home crowd?"

"I hope the answer to all these questions is yes, yes, yes! But it will be very difficult, we need to be at our best but I know it's a game the lads are really looking forward to. The chance to test yourself against Championship-standard players."

Cioffi also believes that the 4,000 home fans will have a big part to play adding: "This is what I wanted when I came to the club - a full stadium of Crawley fans getting behind us. We have that on Tuesday so thanks to them,".

"But we will need them to be noisy all game, not just when we are playing well. In our stadium which is quite compact it makes all the difference to the players. They will respond - I have no doubt about that - then it's up to them to make the difference on the pitch."