Crawley Town are the next of our opponents to go under the spotlight.
Nickname: The Reds, The Red Devils
Club Colours: Red & Black
Who are they?
Formed in 1896, the Red Devils were founding members of the West Sussex Football League and spent their early years in non-league. The club turned semi-professional in 1962 and joined the Southern League a year later.
Crawley entered the Premier Division of the Southern League in 1984, and stayed there for 20 years before earning promotion to the Conference. Under the guidance of Steve Evans, the Reds won the Conference in 2011 and earned promotion to the Football League for the first time.
Promotion to League One followed in 2012, but Crawley’s stay in the third tier only lasted four seasons before they dropped back down to League Two.
Did You Know?
+ Crawley managed to stay in the Conference despite receiving point deductions in three of their seven seasons in the league.
+ The Red Devils reached the Fifth Round of the FA Cup in 2010, where they were narrowly beaten by Manchester United at Old Trafford.
+ Sean O’Driscoll was appointed Crawley manager in 2012, but left after only four days to take over at Nottingham Forest.
How did they get on last season?
Despite being tipped by many to push for promotion last season after some impressive summer additions, Crawley struggled to pull away from relegation danger.
They eventually finished 19th, only five points clear of relegation. That finish saw manager Dermot Drummy lose his job in early May.
Who’s in charge?
Australian Harry Kewell was appointed manager of Crawley earlier this year in his first foray into management. The former winger played for Leeds United and Liverpool during a successful playing career in which he spent over a decade in England. He ended his playing career at Melbourne Heart in 2013.
Kewell then coached the Watford U23 side before leaving to take over the reins at Crawley.
How has their summer transfer business looked?
Kewell has been busy in the transfer market since his appointment, bringing in a number of new faces including some overseas additions. Top scorer James Collins may have left for Luton, but fans’ favourite Dannie Bulman rejoined from Wimbledon.
Mark Randall also signed for the Red Devils while Cedric Evina agreed a season-long loan deal and Dennon Lewis moved south from Watford. Moussa Sanoh, Panutche Camara and Thomas Verheydt have also moved to the Checkatrade.com Stadium.
They’ve Played For Both
There are few players who have played for both clubs, although current United midfielders Mike Jones and Nicky Adams both played for the Red Devils earlier in their careers.
Jones made 82 appearances, netting four times, during his two-year stay at Crawley, while Adams made 70 appearances between 2012 and 2014.
Memorable Meeting - Carlisle 3-1 Crawley (29 October 2016)
Our meeting at Brunton Park last season saw United claim a memorable victory thanks in part to a superb strike from Luke Joyce. Jabo Ibehre handed the Blues an early lead before Jason Kennedy added a second. Joyce’s thunderbolt extended the lead, with Mark Connolly’s late goal only a consolation for the Red Devils.
Watch the highlights of that game here:
When Did We Last Meet?
Our last meeting came on 22 April in a high-scoring affair at the Checkatrade.com Stadium. A James Collins brace had put the hosts in control before Jabo Ibehre, Jamie Proctor and Reggie Lambe saw United turn the game on its head. But there was another late twist as Jimmy Smith equalised in the dying minutes to grab Crawley a share of the spoils.
Watch highlights of that game here:
When Do We Meet Next?
We make the trip to Crawley on 30 September before the Red Devils visit Brunton Park on 17 March.