Aldershot T. - Crawley
Crawley visit the Rec in Monday's local derby
Chris Giles: Likely to play a part for Crawley on Monday as he returns to the Rec
Monday’s televised ‘Battle of the Basement’ sees both teams trying to address the problems that have left them occupying the bottom two positions in the Conference table.
Aldershot will likely give debuts to centre-back Greg Heald, winger Ryan Williams and striker Matt Gearing as Terry Brown seeks added strength and ability in both boxes; while Crawley, scorer of only one goal in five matches so far, will be hoping that big money, deadline day signing Daryl Clare will make an instant impact.
However, neither side are at full-strength. Having served a three-match suspension, Darren Barnard’s persistent groin problem now looks likely to require an operation, with Gary Holloway and John Brough also still some way from full fitness and David Lee already thinking of next year.
Crawley will be missing versatile Captain Ian Simpemba and dynamic midfielder Lee Blackburn through suspension, winger Lee Elam has suffered a recurrence of a hamstring tear, and midfielder Robbie Kember has only just returned to training after an eye injury.
Ben Judge, Dave Woozley, Sacha Opinel and Neil Jenkins have all required treatment in recent days but should be fit to play.
Manager Francis Vines has made several changes to his squad in the wake of their transition to full-time status in the summer, with eight players making their debuts against York and senior players Allan Tait and John Robinson leaving. So far, though, the team has failed to gel.
A new-look strike force of Steve Burton, Stuart Douglas and Jamie Cade – brought in from Scarborough, Dagenham and Colchester, respectively – is now augmented by Clare, for whom the phrase ‘proven goalscorer’ was seemingly invented.
But defensive frailties contributed to two of the three goals conceded against Morecambe and the decisive first – having already missed two great chances themselves – at Hereford, even if Vines was happy to have kept two clean sheets in their opening matches.
Richard Hodgson, nomadic and enigmatic but undoubtedly skilful, has returned to the Broadfield Stadium after spells at Cambridge and in Malaysia, partnering tough-tackling ex-Oxford and Barnet midfielder Danny Brown.
Former Aldershot defender Chris Giles came into the side last week, to make his first appearance of the season, in a back-three with erstwhile Shots target Woozley and the experienced Simon Wormull.
The Shots, quite simply, need a win, but, even with problems and poor form of their own, Crawley will represent another stiff challenge. A draw is of little use to either team as they seek to get their play-off ambitions back on track, but something, it would appear, has to give: Aldershot have lost their opening two home games of the season, but Crawley haven’t won in their last 12 away matches.
- Daryl Clare on Crawleyn kokoonpanossa jo tässä ottelussa!