The Alex finished last season in 15th spot in League Two following a stop-start campaign which saw them string impressive results and performances together only to then suffer periods of relative indifference.
Former-Blues forward Shaun Miller ended months of speculation when he signed for Crewe shortly after the summer break had started, and midfielder Paul Green was next to join when he made the short trip across from Oldham.
Striker Alex Nicholls and defender Nicky Hunt were other notable arrivals as boss David Artell looks for an assault on the top half of the table this time round.
In with a bang
Morecambe were left to wonder where it had all gone wrong on the opening day of the season as Crewe registered one of their highest ever first day score lines.
Charlie Kirk and Alex Nicholls had the Alex cruising within the space of just 10 minutes, and second notch for Nicholls after the break was added to by a brace from James Jones and a fine finish from Chris Porter.
The final goal of the day – a second for Jones – came deep into time added on just as the home fans had started to sing ‘we want six.’
A defeat at Newport and a draw with MK Dons punctuated a Carabao Cup home defeat on penalties at the hands of Fleetwood Town, but Tuesday night brought a real crash back down to earth as Colchester ran riot and gave their shell-shocked visitors a taste of their opening day medicine.
Speaking ahead of the game, United boss John Sheridan said: "The supporters are responding to us at the moment because I think they can see what we're trying to do.
"When we get the ball down and pass it around we look a decent side, but there's still work for us to do. There have been spells in games where we've made things hard for ourselves, and we need to get better at that.
"The two victories from Saturday and Tuesday and have set things up nicely for the weekend, but Crewe will come here looking to put things right from their game at Colchester.
"We'll need to be ready for that and we'll need to make sure that we play at a good tempo and take care of the ball. If we do that, and make the right decisions at the right times, I'm sure our fans will respond exactly as they have been."
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Following the heavy defeat on Tuesday, Alex manager David Artell confirmed that the players had agreed to reimburse the fans who had travelled on the night.
He said: "The players will put their hands in their pockets, without a shadow of a doubt, because the fans deserve credit for coming all of this way and they don't deserve [a performance like] that.
“We rallied a bit after half time and had a go. If we could have got a goal at the time then it could have been a passage back into the game, but we didn’t. We had that ten-minute spell but that was after I shouted at them at half-time. It shouldn’t take that.
"We know we have to better at the weekend and we know we have to go to Carlisle ready to put on a performance. I'm sure that is what will happen."
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Did You Know?
+ The ‘Alexandra’ in the club’s name comes from Princess Alexandra, the Queen of England at the time of their formation.
+ Crewe’s first cup success actually came in the Welsh Cup, which they won in 1936 and 1937 before being banned from the competition.
+ In 1995, the Railwaymen went 56 games without winning away from home, until a 1-0 win at Southport stopped the rot.
Head to Head
The sides have met regularly over the years – 88 times in total – with United having won 38 of those encounters to Crewe’s 36.
|Carlisle wins||Draws||Crewe wins|
Last season went the way of the Blues with goals from Danny Grainger , Reggie Lambe and Hallam Hope added to by an own goal from former-Carlisle centre back Michael Raynes which combined to give United a comfortable 5-0 away victory back in September.
Watch the highlights from that game here:
The home game in January was a much closer affair, with a late strike from Sam Cosgrove the difference between the sides.
Watch the highlights from that game here:
Man in the middle:
The referee for this game is Mr Seb Stockbridge. From his first three games this season he had witnessed 11 goals, and had shown a total of 13 cards.
His busiest encounter thus far was the opening day fixture at Notts County, when they hosted Colchester, with six yellows produced on the day.
We saw him on three occasions last season – Danny Grainger [who also scored], Mike Jones, Mark Ellis and Jamie Devitt were all carded in our 1-1 draw with Luton in April.
Gary Liddle’s name was the only one written down as Kelvin Etuhu and John O’Sullivan scored the goals to secure a 2-0 victory over Chesterfield in February.
And Hallam Hope and Jason Kennedy were the goal scorers as United stayed trouble free in their 2-0 Checkatrade victory over Morecambe.
Referee - Sebastian Stockbridge
Assistant Referee 1 - Chris Isherwood
Assistant Referee 2 - Geoffrey Liddle
Fourth Official - Paul Hodskinson
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