Pompey v Crawley – the opposition view

Crawley Town head coach Harry Kewell. Picture by Steve Robards
Crawley Town head coach Harry Kewell. Picture by Steve Robards
Pompey player Gareth Evans

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With only one home victory all season, there is some unrest developing among the fans at present.

In fact, with three wins in total, Crawley are 20th in League Two under summer appointment Harry Kewell.

It has been a stop-start, inconsistent season, although they are faring better away from the Broadfield Stadium.

Speaking before Saturday’s home loss to Carlisle, head coach Kewell seems to be happy with the start, adamant the team are heading in the right direction with a new brand of football.

He has emphasised a passing game, trying to bring a Premier League style into League Two, so believes it will take time.

But among some supporters there is a sense it is not going very well.

Having looked after Watford’s under-23s for two seasons, Crawley represents Kewell’s first senior role and he speaks very well.

The players seem to like him because of his pedigree, while at 39 represents a young manager. Mind you, he is only one year older than one of his players in Dannie Bulman!

Crawley last season finished 19, costing Dermot Drummy his job, which was a shame because it appeared he had the right credentials having worked in the Chelsea and Arsenal academies.

However, the Reds suffered a slump in the second half of the campaign following an encouraging early period which left them decently placed near the play-offs.

Since then, eight players have been recruited over the summer and, crucially, James Collins was sold to Luton.

The former Swindon man scored 22 goals – and the Dutch striker who replaced him, Thomas Verheydt, has been out injured since August.

Verheydt actually scored against Pompey in the July friendly, although Crawley went on to lose 2-1.

He has been out with a knee injury, prompting him to return to Holland to receive treatment, so should be training in a couple of weeks.

They also let Matt Harrold go, their next best striker, and at the moment haven’t got anyone in their place.

Ibrahim Meite has arrived from Cardiff on loan and netted on his maiden Football League start during a 1-1 draw at Stevenage, but he is young.

In the past week there have been successive home defeats to Newport County and Carlisle and certainly the manner of those losses have not been very inspiring.

They were even leading Newport – and still managed to lose 2-1 without putting up much of a fight. The fans aren’t very happy about it.