Checkatrade Trophy preview No-one had heard of Cioffi – but he’s made a good impact at Crawley

New Crawley boss Gabriele Cioffi Picture: Liz Pearce
New Crawley boss Gabriele Cioffi Picture: Liz Pearce
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Crawley Observer sports editor Graham Carter​​​​​​​​​​​​​ casts his eye over how Crawley have fared this season.​..

Despite having lost Harry Kewell to Notts County in August, the season is going pretty well for Crawley, who stand just a point outside the play-off spots.

It’s a side which have won five straight home matches, of which four have arrived under new boss Gabriele Cioffi.

Kewell had done a good job, so losing him was a blow, with the fans not taking it too well. It was perceived as jumping ship at the first opportunity.

No-one had heard of Cioffi, who was a coach of Gianfranco Zola while at Birmingham. This represents his first managerial role – and he has impressed.

As a club, Crawley have shown a willingness to give new talent a go. There was Harry Kewell, an inexperienced appointment despite his playing background, now there’s Cioffi.

The Italian speaks good English, is very personable and has made a good impact.

Crawley beat Cambridge United 2-0 on Saturday to put them into ninth spot. There have been no promotion targets set, just an improvement on last season’s 14th placing.

It’s going well, the manager has created a good rapport with the fans and seems to have brought everyone together.

Under Kewell, last season there were some good wins against better teams, but sometimes losses against lower ones and there was a slump in the second half of the campaign.

Overall a 14th-placed finish was not bad, but there was some inconsistency.

Kewell brought in 11 summer signings, among them Ollie Palmer and Luke Gambin.

Palmer, who arrived from Lincoln, has seven goals in 12 league matches and was recently nominated for the Sky Bet Player of the Month for August. 

He’s a powerfully-built striker who also creates, has a turn of pace about him and is difficult to get the ball off.

Goalkeeper Glenn Morris is also performing very well, as is Gambin, an on-loan winger from Luton who has only featured four times.