The 2016/17 season already seems to be following the same sort of pattern as recent seasons with City looking good on the road but struggling at home, as evidenced by a 3-2 win at Colchester last Saturday that very few would have predicted, especially given the continued patching up of Paul Tisdale’s injury hit side. Both Luke Croll and Jack Stacey made strong debuts – the latter providing the cross for Joel Grant’s winner – while Jordan-Moore Taylor only travelled with the team to continue receiving treatment yet ended up playing the full match. Troy Brown had been due to play but suffered a knock which meant while he did play the last few minutes he has since been ruled out, meaning it’s likely Ethan Ampadu will continue to play despite having returned to school. Elsewhere it’s probably a week or two too soon for another couple of players who are out, with both Lee Holmes and David Wheeler thought to be targeting the Devon Derby next weekend for their returns.
After a couple of “great escapes”, Crewe finally found the going in League One too tough last season and find themselves back in the basement after four years. Manager Steve Davis will have had an interesting close season rebuilding the side although perhaps the most eye-catching signing has been the loan arrival of Alex Kiwomya from Chelsea, who has already notched three goals. Chris Dagnall, Ryan Lowe and Danny Hollands are other players with pedigree at this level as the Railwaymen look to bounce straight back. Crewe have lost just once in the league so far to Cheltenham and go into Saturday’s match buoyed by a 2-1 win over fancied Doncaster.
Incredibly, given both sides’ general position hanging around the bottom two divisions, Saturday marks the first time in 25 years that City and Crewe have met, as it seemed to be that whenever one side was promoted the other would be relegated, aside obviously from the few seasons where Crewe were in the second tier and City were slumming it in non-league. Crewe were promoted to the old Second Division in 1994 (City relegated), relegated to League Two in 2009 (City promoted) and promoted in 2012 (City relegated). It was City who held the upper hand way back in the 1990/91 season, taking four points from Crewe with a 3-0 home win and a 1-1 draw at Gresty Road as Crewe found themselves promoted (with City just once place above the drop). The sides are level in the Football League head to head with 15 wins each (12 draws).
Latest Odds: Crewe 11/8 for the win, 12/5 for the draw and Exeter are 15/8 for the win.
Match officials: http://www.exeweb.com/2016/09/06/match-officials-crewe-alexandra/