MATCH PREVIEW: Crewe Alexandra
Updated Friday, 11th December 2009
Barnet Mad previews this weekend's League Two match at Underhill
This weekend, Barnet welcome Crewe Alexandra to Underhill in a League Two Match. Barnet will be looking to bounce back following Tuesday’s bitterly disappointing FA Cup exit at the hands of Accrington Stanley. The Bees gave a well below par performance though the team was missing a number of players, particularly in defence, as has been the case in recent weeks.
Crewe are just one place and one point below Crewe and come to Underhill unbeaten in their last four league matches which have included an impressive 3-2 away win at Chesterfield, their first defeat of the season at Saltergate and a 2-2 draw at Northampton, in a match where they, at one point, led 2-0. Last Saturday, they had a disappointing goalless draw at home to struggling, Lincoln City.
Crewe are one of those sides who have performed better away in the league than at home. The Railwaymen have lost six out of their ten league games at Gresty Road, but have won five times on the road. They have only drawn twice this season, both of these coming in recent weeks. So Barnet will have to be on form if they are going to be on the winning side against the Alex at Underhill.
Barnet are, of course, unbeaten in the league at home so far this season, but their league form has been poor of late with just 3 points from their last six league matches, the last win being a 3-0 home win over Darlington back in October. This run has seen the Bees drop out of the play-off places and they have slipped to 13th place, five points of the play-offs. Manager, Ian Hendon will see it as vital that the Bees get back to winning ways this weekend, but Crewe’s experienced boss, Dario Gradi will also be looking for three points to push them up towards the top half of the table as Crewe look to challenge for a play-off place and a quick return to League One after being relegated last season. The Railwaymen were playing Championship football not long ago, only being relegated in 2006. Crewe were also the first club to play the Bees in the league back in1991 following Barnet’s promotion from the Conference. Crewe won the Bees’ initial league game by a staggering 7-4 at Underhill.
In the Crewe squad for the match at Underhill will be former Barnet player, Patrick Ada who had a very short stay at Underhill at the end of our Conference winning season of 2004/05, making two appearances as a substitute. He joined Crewe in the summer from Histon. Another summer signing from Histon was Mat Mitchel-King, rumoured, at one point, to be heading to Underhill. Another former Bees player in the Crewe squad is goalkeeper, Steve Collis. However, amongst the players to watch out for are former Tranmere striker, Calvin Zola who has already scored 10 league goals this season, former York city and England C international, Clayton Donaldson and exciting, former Aldershot winger, Joel Grant.
Crewe will be without striker, Shaun Miller and midfield players, Carl Martin and Steve Schumacher who are sidelined through injury, but on loan defender, Harry Worley could return after an ankle injury.
Barnet are still without their four injured defenders, but Ryan O’Neill is back in training and was on the bench for the Accrington game but is still not match fit. He could possibly be fit for next Saturday’s league trip to Accrington. However, barnet will be able to call on fit again winger, Albert Adomah and influential midfield player, Mark Hughes who returns after suspension, having been sent off last Saturday at Bury. On loan striker, Craig McAllister, who was ineligible for the Accrington cup match, is also available and Dean Sinclair is in line to make his first start since returning to Barnet, on loan from Charlton, having come on as a substitute on Tuesday.
Manager, Ian Hendon will have to make some tough decisions about the team selection for this match and may play on loan defender, Calum Butcher at right back to give the side more balance and choose between playing Daniel Leach alongside Ismail Yakubu at the centre of the defence or playing Kenny Gillet there and moving Ahmed Deen to his normal left side of the defence. Hendon will also have to decide on whether or not to play just one winger and three midfield players, or stick to playing with two wingers. The arrival of Sinclair could mean a tactical change for the manager as it seems unlikely that Hughes and skipper, Micah Hyde will stand down if Deano plays. Up front, McAllister should start alongside 10 goal, John O’Flynn.
Without a win in eight matches, Barnet will be desperate to pick up points, but much could depend on the team selection. If Butcher plays at right back and the team switches to three in midfield, then, optimistically, Barnet could get back to winning ways. However, a continuation of the recent team formation would probably mean the Bees’ winless run extending to nine. Barnet Mad is going to hedge its bets and go for a 1-1 draw.
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