Crewe Alex: we're not alone enduring a season of transition says boss Artell

By Gwyn Griffiths

1st Jan 2022 | Local Sport

DAVE Artell says there are similarities between Crewe's struggles in League One this season and those of tomorrow night's visitors, Lincoln City (K.O 7.45pm).

Michael Appleton's side travel to South Cheshire (Tuesday) in 18th place and just four points above the relegation zone. They have won once in their last six outings and were dumped out of the FA Cup by League Two Hartlepool at the weekend.

In contrast, Appleton steered Lincoln close to the Championship in May of this year when they lost to Blackpool in the Play-off Final at Wembley.

Since then key players, such as Jorge Grant, have departed Sincil Bank and boss Appleton had a health scare in the summer when he underwent surgery after being diagnosed with testicular cancer.

Artell said: "Lincoln lost their four best players from last season, including their loan players and Grant. The manager has had a health problem and we wish him all the best.

"It's obvious that they're in a transition, which is what we are in. It impacts on results and performances, which is why they're eighth bottom and not eighth top.

"But Michael Appleton is certainly not a bad manager and he doesn't become one over the summer.

"They'll be looking to improve and get back to where they were last year."

Artell says he is confident that Crewe can turn some of their recent displays into a winning run to make up the gap at the bottom of the table. The Alex, in 24th place, are seven points from safety.

He was impressed by his players' efforts in away defeats at AFC Wimbledon and Ipswich, while last week's Papa John's Trophy success over Doncaster was a morale-booster for a much-changed and youthful line-up.

"We've got to make sure that whoever we come up against that we play like we have done and if we do then we will have a chance," said the manager.

"The performances have been there and if that continues to be the case the results will look after themselves."

Crewe's youngsters have progressed to the next round of the FA Youth Cup after Matus Holicek scored the only goal of the game against Hull at the Mornflake Stadium yesterday (Sunday).

Among the youth team's starting XI were Connor O'Riordan and Joel Tabiner, who featured for the first team in the Doncaster cup tie.

Artell says the teenagers will get more opportunities in the tournament to enhance their development.

"We try and use these games for first-team development. Joel did ever so well last week and he was good in the Youth Cup game too. While Connor looked assured up against Doncaster's first team," he added.

  • Saturday's Papa John's Trophy draw has handed Crewe a last-16 tie against League One rivals Rotherham at the Mornflake Stadium. The tie is due to be played in the week starting January 3.

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