There was hope Crewe had turned the corner under David Artell.
It’s been difficult for him since Crewe changed the manager in January after he replaced Steve Davis
There was a lift a couple of games ago, with them winning back-to-back home games and coming back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at Blackpool.
That provided a boost, but Tuesday’s 4-0 hammering against a poor Hartlepool side probably brought into focus it’s going to be a slog.
It’s going to be a tough mission to get out of trouble over the rest of the campaign.
Crewe did start the season pretty well.
But they’d been relegated last season and survived on the final day of the two seasons before that.
So it’s been a few difficult campaigns with the same manager and, fundamentally, the same group of players.
It was always going to be difficult to kick that losing habit.
There are some good players in there and, as ever with Crewe, they are homegrown if inexperienced.
They tried to add to that with the likes of Chris Dagnall, Danny Hollands, Zoumana Bakayogo and Ryan Lowe, who’s since left.
They went for experience to help the younger ones, but it’s a small squad.
Once they lost a couple of games that feeling which has been at the club for a while surfaced again.
Crewe won nine games in the whole of 2016! It becomes a challenge to get over that, and that’s how it turned out.
Jordan Bowery has arrived and helped by giving the team a different dimension.
He’s been good but hasn’t got off the mark yet and I guess finding the back of the net has been an Achilles heel in his career. Bowery’s picked up four assists and has been important to the players around him, though.
Alex Kiwomya is unbelievably fast and started the season so well.
He dislocated his shoulder last year and hasn’t quite recaptured his form. He’s got seven goals but hasn’t scored in 16 games now.
Pompey fans know Danny Hollands. He’s experienced but not over the hill. He’ll never catch the eye but he’s steady and a dependable anchor in midfield.
George Cooper is probably the one to watch, though.
He’s a homegrown left-footed player and there has been emphasis on him to create and score the goals.
Some weeks it’s felt like Cooper or nothing. And it’s turned out to be nothing!
He’s only 20, though, with a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. He’s a free-kick specialist and, if he plays well, Crewe have a much better chance.