Meet the opposition, Crewe: Railwaymen finding it tough keeping on track

Crewe Alexandra's Mikael Mandron celebrates scoring his sides first goal during the Papa John's Trop

Crewe Alexandra's Mikael Mandron celebrates scoring his side's first goal during a Papa John's Trophy Northern Group C match this season. But it's been a hard start to life in League One for Crewe. - Credit: PA

Ipswich Town entertain basement side Crewe Alexandra at Portman Road Sunday afternoon in a 3pm kick-off. MIKE BACON takes a look at the opposition.

TOUGH START FOR RAILWAYMEN

Basement-boys Crewe head to Portman Road Sunday afternoon with just two wins from their opening 19 League One fixtures.

Ahead of the games on Saturday, only Accrington Stanley had conceded more goals, with Alexandra's two wins coming against Burton and more recently Gillingham.

The Railwaymen sit second bottom of the last six-game form guide and on Tuesday night were denied a draw at AFC Wimbledon after 10-man Dons netted a 95th-minute winner in a 3-2 victory.

While winning fewer games than anyone in League One, they have drawn six times, including away at Plymouth and Rotherham.

However, with just 12 points on the board Crewe are already five points adrift of Gillingham, who are currently sitting just above the relegation spots.

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Town, meanwhile sit in 13th place in League One.

Crewe Alexandra manager David Artell instructs his players during the Sky Bet League One match at Th

Crewe Alexandra manager David Artell instructs his players. - Credit: PA

MEET THE BOSS

Crewe boss David Artell  began his career as a centre back with Rotherham, as the Millers won successive promotions from the Third Division to the First Division in 1999/2000 and 2000/01.

He went on to play more than 400 League and Cup games at various clubs, including, among others, Mansfield, Chester, Morecambe and Crewe.

Artell was called up to the Gibraltar national team in February 2014. He made his debut on March 1, 2014 in Gibraltar's second official match, a 4-1 friendly defeat to the Faroe Islands. He went on to play seven times for Gibraltar.

He was appointed manager of Crewe in January 2017 and went on to lead the club to promotion out of League Two last season, and became League Two Manager of the Year as a result.

In total, from almost 250 games as boss of the Railwaymen, Artell has a 38% win ratio.

HEAD TO HEAD

Town and Crewe have met 18 times in all competitions and the Alex have only won three times.

The last time they beat Town was back in 2003 when they won 1-0 at Gresty Road in a Division One match.

Crewe have won just once at Portman Road, but it was a significant defeat for George Burley's side at the time.

With Town gunning for automatic promotion to the Premiership in the 1998/99 season, Crewe came to Portman Road in April 1999 and beat the Blues 2-1 to massively dent their automatic hopes of promotion.

Indeed, Burley's Blues fell short of automatic that season once more and went out in the play-offs again. They would have to wait another 12 months for play-off glory at Wembley in May 2000.

Crewe Alexandra's Chris Porter (left) and Doncaster Rovers' Tom Anderson battle for the ball during

Crewe Alexandra's Chris Porter (left) and Doncaster Rovers' Tom Anderson battle for the ball. - Credit: PA

FORMER COL U MEN LEAD CHARTS

Crewe have only netted 16 times this season, only Doncaster (11) have scored less.

Top of the goal-scoring charts, with three goals, are former Colchester United players Chris Porter and Mikael Mandron.

Both enjoyed spells at the Essex club, Porter scoring 30 goals in his near 100 appearances for the U's.

Indeed, Porter has enjoyed a good goal-scoring record during his long career, which now sees him heading towards 700 league and cup games in a career that began at Bury in 2002. He has scored almost 200 goals in that time and certainly knows where the net is.

A general view of the new William Hill Shop at London Bridge

Town are odds-on favourites with the bookies - Credit: PA

WHAT THE BOOKIES SAY

I can't remember a time when a team has been such long odds for victory at Portman Road as visitors Crewe are in this one. In what is a a two-horse race, you can get up to 13/2 for them to win, with the average bet 6/1.

Town are odds-on as you would expect - the draw is generous though.

TOWN WIN: 2/5: SUNDERLAND WIN: 6/1: THE DRAW: 7/2


DID YOU KNOW?

Speedway racing was staged in Crewe in the pioneer days of the late 1920s. The stadium in Earle Street also operated from 1969 until 1975 when the Crewe Kings raced in British League Division Two, then the National League.

At the time the track was the longest and fastest in the UK. Crewe Kings riders included Phil Crump (father of Jason Crump), and Ipswich Witches defeated Crewe in the final of the 1971 KO Cup.

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