Naylor out to end Crewe bogey

RICHARD Naylor is looking to show the curse of the awards is nothing but hogwash, as Town look to stay top of the Championship with a win at Crewe today.

By Derek Davis

RICHARD Naylor is looking to show the curse of the awards is nothing but hogwash, as Town look to stay top of the Championship with a win at Crewe today.

With Blues boss Joe Royle winning the cursed Manager of the Month award for November, Naylor picking up his own special accolade and in-form Crewe Alexandra being a place Town don't traditionally do well, it all makes for an intriguing trip.

Town have won twice and lost twice at Gresty Road in the past three years but have always struggled to overcome Crewe.

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Naylor said: “We have not had good results at Crewe in the past, they are a bogey side, so we would like to put that to bed.

“We have a lot of new people at the club now, so there is no reason why we can't go there and win. Crewe struggle against more physical sides but, against good footballing sides, they tend to do well

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“That is the way Dario likes to play and it was no accident that, when we struggled against lower teams, it was usually Crewe, but we are better able to deal with that now.

“Crewe is always one of those places you go and are expected to win, but they are a decent side and always get decent results against decent teams.

“So it won't be an easy place to go in the slightest, but I'm looking forward to it.”

Naylor is in fine fettle after a storming month in which he ended up winning the EADT/Powergen Player of the Month award.

The 27-year-old said: “It is always good to win an award like that. It shows I have managed consistency throughout the month and that is what you are aiming for, as a player, through the season.

“We have to keep it going, because if you perform badly in the next game it will mean nothing. It is a nice reward for me but I want to do well at Crewe now.”

The poacher-turned-gamekeeper is relishing his role at the back, and has showed he still knows where the net is with a couple of goals this season.

He said: “I have shown what I'm capable of, and being in a settled back four has helped.

“Although I did quite well in patches last season, I feel I have improved, partially that is down to concentration and having a bit more experience.

“I'm more accustomed to what I'm supposed to be doing and things are coming more naturally, which means you can concentrate on specific things easier.”

The Yorkshireman, who came through Town's youth system, praised his fellow defenders.

He said: “Lewis Price did really well, but having Kelvin back helps a lot as well. He is a bit more of a talker, which is good for me and Jason. He keeps you on your toes, which is what you need.

“Jason has helped immensely. He is another good talker and is really calm. He doesn't get too irate about things, which means you don't get uptight. He is so comfortable that it helps you stay comfortable and play more relaxed.”

For a man who has played with a fractured leg, toe and other bits and bobs, staying healthy enough to start in all 21 league and two cup matches has also been a great achievement.

Naylor said: “That has been wonderful for me this season so far - touch wood. If you are carrying a knock it is inevitable that your performance dips, so to stay fit has helped me.”

The last time Naylor was interviewed by the EADT, he went on to score against Sheffield United at the beginning of a terrific month.

More of the same today, please Richard!

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