We talk to Crewe Alexandra fan Josh Ravenscroft ahead of tomorrow’s FA Cup Second Round tie at Ewood Park.
How has the League Two season gone so far for Crewe Alexandra?
It’s been mixed emotions so far for me, to be honest, I’m still a bit unsure as to if I feel upset about where we are or if it is fair.
The majority of fans think where we are in the league is an underachievement and an insult to where we should be looking at the squad on paper. I think we are better than the league table suggests, but in the first season with an inexperienced manager and plenty of new players, it’s never going to be easy.
Also, we have a lack of squad depth, which obviously limits options, and even though the first XI is stronger I’d say the squad as a whole isn’t – it’s a mismatch and appears disjointed in terms of players to a position. We would be higher in the league if we were more professional and could see games out more effectively.
In answer to the original question; the season can fairly be described as poor, mainly because are performances have merited better – but if you keep making the same mistakes, the outcome won’t change so in that aspect it could be described as fair.
What was the general feeling around the club when you drew Blackburn Rovers away?
A few fans, myself included, brought out the “we never liked round 3 anyway” line – and wrote us off immediately.
However, the majority of fans were upbeat seeing it a relatively close away day, and a winnable one – purely going off the fact we had a worse 11 when we faced you at Ewood Park last season, and only lost 4-3 AET.
Those fans adopting the “Why can’t we beat them” approach – which I’ve started to see more of. As the game comes closer and dreams of a Premier League club away become that bit more real.
What are your hopes for the FA Cup competition?
Every year for the FA Cup, I always dream of getting to round 3 and drawing the likes of Liverpool, Man United, Arsenal away – something that doesn’t usually happen and is a once in a lifetime opportunity for many lower league teams.
This year is no different, apart from the fact that hope has usually been shattered by now by a non-league team in Round One.
What is the best moment you’ve had in the FA Cup?
In the club’s history, we reached the semi-finals in 1888.
I’d love to say “but in recent times” and then give an amazing memory of winning at Anfield to draw Manchester United at Old Trafford in round 4, however I honestly can’t.
The FA Cup has been an annual trap for heartbreak, especially over recent times, with round one exits for the last 5 years but the same round 3 dreams being there for me.
I’m hoping if you asked me that question on Monday, I can answer with “yesterday, getting to round 3”. But, as long as we’re still in the hat when I’m travelling back, I’ll be happy.
What should we expect to see from Crewe Alexandra?
I’d like to think you’ll see a fearless side, with nothing to lose, playing with zero pressure on us.
A side that works to the end, valiantly, in a hope to give themselves a chance of playing at a big ground which many of them won’t in their career again. However, you’ll be more likely to see a side that fold like a cheap deckchair, who’s defence are as useful as chocolate fireguards, and attackers couldn’t hit the barn never mind the door.
I did have that philosophy going into the Rotherham game [1st round of the FA Cup] though, and here we are.
Who is your player to watch and why?
I wouldn’t say we’ve got a stand-out player this season, more a case of who’s least below par on the day.
The answer you’d get off most Crewe fans would be George Cooper, but as public enemy number 1 said: “Don’t believe the hype”. He played well in August when in my opinion he was playing purely for a move away.
For the player to watch, I’ll point out Dagnall (if Artell plays him as a striker, not a winger or a midfielder) – he’s feisty, passionate, knows where the back of the net is and will snatch a goal. As our manager calls him, he’s the Michael Owen of League 2. Saying that he’s been playing more like how you’d expect Mark Owen to play recently.
How do you think the game will go?
It’s either going to be a field day for Blackburn or a 1 goal victory for us. We try and play the “right” style of football, as I presume Blackburn do looking at the quality of players they have.
So it will definitely be a high-quality game, there will be lots of goals and attacking play, as there was in the 4-3 last year [Capital One Cup 1st Round tie].
It will be entertaining for both fans and for the neutral. I’d be more inclined for the announcer to say “Welcome to the Bradley Dack show” than “Welcome to Ewood Park, this is Blackburn Rovers vs Crewe Alexandra” unfortunately.
What is your prediction?
I’m famed for my horrendous predictions and guess-work so I’ll continue it.
So I’m hoping that this is the same here, in reflection of my prediction being a 5-2 Blackburn victory.
With goals from Callum Ainley and Chris Dagnall being overshadowed by a Bradley Dack hat trick and a brace by Marcus Antonsson.
Thanks for reading.
Thanks to Josh for taking time out to do this preview with us.