Why Crawley Town being written off at the start of the season was a good thing - according to former Swindon Town defender

Crawley Town were written off by everyone at the start of this season - and for Dion Conroy, that was a good thing.
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The 27-year-old signed for the Reds in the summer of 2022 and was part of the squad who just avoided relegation by two points. After a summer clearout, Conroy is now one of the longest serving players at the club.

And due to the performance in the league last season, Scott Lindsey’s side were heavily tipped to go down - with some pundits claiming they would struggle to get any points in their first six or seven games of the season.

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But Conroy and co are proving the doubters wrong, winning four of their first eight games and are currently sitting sixth in the League Two table with 14 points. And the defender, who played under Lindsey at Swindon Town, is quite robust in his opinion as to why it is going so well.

He said: “Last season I was speaking to the people behind the scenes and I was saying we needed to get the Gaffer in anyway because obviously I know how good he can be. That was a big part of staying up because I knew that if we stayed up last season, this season could be a very special one.

“And obviously everyone was writing us off at the start of the season. I think it was a good thing. It didn't really put any pressure on the new boys coming in and it just made us want to kind of prove everyone wrong really.

“And we've started off really well. I think we're playing unbelievable football and hopefully we can just continue this form.”

Crawley Town defender Dion Conroy returned from injury last week in the 3-2 win over Tranmere Rovers. Picture: Eva GilbertCrawley Town defender Dion Conroy returned from injury last week in the 3-2 win over Tranmere Rovers. Picture: Eva Gilbert
Crawley Town defender Dion Conroy returned from injury last week in the 3-2 win over Tranmere Rovers. Picture: Eva Gilbert
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And Conroy’s admiration for his gaffer is clear to see. When asked what is so special about Lindsey, Conroy said: “He's obviously very knowledgeable about the game. You can see how we're playing football. I don't think anyone's playing the kind of football we're playing in this league. And he's just a really, really, really good guy. He is very straight. I think players like it when managers are straight with them, whether it's good or bad.

“He's just a really decent, honest guy and that goes a long way in football because you don't really come across many of them. I had a really good relationship at Swindon and obviously we have a good relationship now. His coaching is obviously speaking for itself and we're playing really well.”

Conroy’s Crawley career has been dogged by injury. He had two spells out last season before missing pre-season this summer. He played four games at the start of the league campaign before picking up a calf injury.

He returned on Saturday and played the defensive midfielder role in the 3-2 win against Tranmere. Although frustrated, Conroy says the togetherness in the squad helped him through his spell on the sidelines - and that’s down to the recruitment.

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“I've had a number of injuries throughout my career, so I know it can be a lonely place,” he said. “I think that's been one of the biggest things this season with the recruitment is that we've not only recruited obviously good players but good people as well. There's a real chemistry and togetherness within the squad.

“Whether you are injured or not and if someone's heads down, you can always see someone speaking to them or wrapping their arm around their shoulders and um kind of lifting them up. The chemistry is really good and everyone's supporting each other.”

And now Conroy is just looking for some consistency after what he called a ‘weird’ first season with the club.

“It was a rollercoaster last year,” he said. “I had a couple unfortunate injuries with concussion and had a small little knee surgery and then got back fit under a different manager and then my shoulder was out and then another manager came in. I get back fit, then another manager comes in. So it was a bit weird last season, but hopefully this year we can have some consistency.”