Crewe v Pompey: The opposition view

The start of the campaign couldn't have gone much better for the Alex.

Saturday, 13th August 2016, 9:30 am
On-loan Chelsea forward Alex Kiwomya

That’s a relief for fans because it’s a difficult start, and when you won just seven games the previous season there’s always going to be some worry.

That would especially be the case with Crewe and how they are set up with their Academy system.

If they were to drop again after relegation, the club’s whole method of bringing players through would be in danger in the Conference.

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It would pretty much have to go, so it’s quite difficult to weigh up what would be a good season.

The manager has talked about promotion but I don’t think the squad is quite big enough to target that.

If they can try to get back to winning ways that would be seen as a decent season.

The club are committing their future to the Academy. They are a Category Two club at the minute. There are not many of those in League Two.

But it costs over £1m to run – which is about what the first-team wage budget is.

The trade-off is the starting XI tomorrow is likely to have seven players who have come through the ranks.

They had the smallest budget in League One and Ryan Lowe and Chris Dagnall are the only permanents recruited.

Other than that it’s been Alex Kiwomya and Liam Smith coming in on loan.

Kiwomya couldn’t have had a better debut. He set one up for Lowe three minutes after coming on at Stevenage.

And his goal is worth a look – he ran from his own half, took on three players and stuck it in the bottom corner.

It’s quite surprising to say for a lad who’s come for Chelsea, but his fitness levels don’t look the best.

He came on after 60 minutes against Sheffield United in midweek, but was struggling in extra-time.

Kiwomya can certainly make an impact off the bench, though. He’s lightning quick and a former national athletics sprint champion. That’s definitely his biggest asset.

George Cooper is worth looking out for, too. A left-footed lad who comes in off the right.

The manager is one of the longest serving after taking over in 2011, and had a great start with promotion via the play-offs and winning the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

But it’s been two final-day escapes before going down and plenty of fans are calling for change now – but the board are backing him.

He had a good record in League Two last time and the hope is he can do something similar again.