Will enforced lay-off hamper Crawley Town's ambitions? - opinion

Now this wasn’t in the script.

Following the postponement of the game against Bradford City because of the weather the Reds’ match against Stevenage had to be called off due to an outbreak of Covid-19 in the camp.

As a result the team has slipped down the league table and they have had no opportunity to maintain their strong run of form.

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Josh Doherty was in great form before an injury

As this edition goes to print they should be facing AFC Bournemouth at Dean Court in the FA Cup Fourth Round hampered by the interruption to their preparations. If nothing else the enforced break will have made forecasting the outcome even more of a lottery. I am certainly not going to try and predict the result.

The impact of the pandemic has cost me the opportunity to add three more grounds to those I have visited with Crawley Town. A first chance to visit to Harrogate Town should have been followed by one to the home of Bolton Wanderers and then a trip to Bournemouth.

We are not aware at present how the Reds’ line up has been affected by the virus. Team selection may have been simplified by the arrival of another attacking player.

Jordan Maguire-Drew has been signed on loan from Leyton Orient and will ensure the manager has a further option when it comes to setting up scoring chances.

Interestingly the winger is another local lad, born and bred in Crawley, whose first club was Oakwood. Whether he later signs on a permanent basis we cannot second guess but I rather like the idea of a football club that sets so much store by its place in the community having a bigger local element in its playing staff.

That’s no disrespect to Essex born Josh Wright or, of course, his elder brother Mark who probably has a higher public profile. It was plain to see from his documentary The Last Chance that Crawley Town and manager John Yems are close to his heart. There seems to be no likelihood that if Mark gets a chance in the side he will give less than 110%.

His opportunities might be hard to come by after Nick Tsaroulla announced his claim to the left back spot in such spectacular fashion against Leeds United.

Before his injury Josh Doherty had been in great form while Tom Dallison and David Sesay had provided very able coverage on that flank. Competition for places is a problem that any manager welcomes and in defence Crawley Town have plenty.

It was good to see former Reds Sonny Bradley and James Collins playing their part for Luton Town against Chelsea while Panutche Camara scored for Plymouth Argyle at Sheffield United.