Shots manager Dean Holdsworth believes that Saturday’s match against Crewe Alexandra will give him the opportunity to pit his side’s ability against one that plays ”Total Football” and that it will offer him another chance to see how his inherited crop of players stand up to their toughest challenge yet.
With the team looking to return the EBB Stadium to its fortress like status, a repeat of Tuesday evening’s performance would be more than welcome as the new regime look to progress and take small steps towards pushing the side up the table.
”We know what to expect,” the boss told the club sofficial website - the Premium Shots on Thursday afternoon. ”We know what to prepare for and that’s what we’ve tried to do today and we’ll continue to work on tomorrow in training.
”It’s not all about other teams at this stage, it’s more about what we do and our confidence going in to this game from the back end of two very good results, one away at Bury and one at home against Bradford and the feelgood factor has returned.
”I don’t want to make too much of it but it’s been a big step that the team has taken and they’ve given me everything they’ve got and we’ve had a great session today and we’ll prepare again tomorrow and look forwards to it.”
The Shots enter the match in 16th place in League Two with 29 points from 24 games, while the Railwaymen are riding high in fourth spot (unless Bury pick up a win at Southend United on Friday evening) with 38 points from the same amount of games.
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The Shots will be looking to make it two home wins in a row but certainly won't be underestimating their promotion chasing opponents and Manny Panther tsaid: ”They’re a good footballing side and they gave us a good game up there so it will be a difficult test for us and especially for the new manager.
”Everybody knows what Crewe are all about as they like to pass the ball and they’ve got dangerous front men so it will be a good test, but we’ll be confident and I’m sure there will be a lot of players who don’t like coming to Aldershot – when I was in the opposition I never liked coming to Aldershot because it was always hard place to come so hopefully we can have a bit of confidence and it will be a tough game for Crewe on Saturday.”
The Shots will be without Wesley Ngo Baheng who was released this week following the end of his short-term contract and Jermaine McGlashan is likely to miss out having failed to recover from a knock that he picked up against Bradford City. There’s better news for Ben Herd and Jamie Vincent however, as they both look to have overcome the knocks they picked up in the same game. Long-term injuries to Damian Spencer and John Halls keep them on the treatment table but other then them, everybody else is reporting fit and new signing Simon Grand will also be available and offer Holdsworth further options.
Shots from: Jamie Young, Jordan Clement, Ben Herd, Simon Grand, Luke Guttridge, Darren Jones, Jamie Vincent, Anthony Charles, Glen Little, Ben Harding, Anthony Straker, Danny Hylton, Manny Panther, Aaron Morris, Peter Vincenti, Clayton Fortune, Jermaine McGlashan, Jack Randall, Wade Small, Reece Connolly, Tim Sills and Liam Henderson.
With four wins from their last five games, Crewe have managed to catapult themselves into a strong position in the current promotion race but manager Dario Gradi has told his side that they must not rest on their laurels if they are to keep in touch with the leading pack.
”It has been pleasing because we have beaten some good teams along the way and we have to keep it going,” he told his club's official website this week.
”If we can cement a play-off place, all well and good. If we can get automatic promotion then that would be even better. I don’t even know how far adrift we are when it comes to the top three. If we could win our next four or five matches then I would have a look at that.
”We are contenders for promotion but there is still a long way to go and plenty of room for improvement. There is work to be done and you always worry.
”I have watched the DVD of the Port Vale game and there are certain things we could have done better, so we will work on those ahead of the trip to Aldershot at the weekend.”
One area of concern that is out of Gradi’s hands however, is waiting to see if any offers are tabled for striker Clayton Donaldson before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.
The former Hibs and Hull front man has already netted 14 times this season and with his contract up in the summer, Gradi is aware that he could face a dilemma should any offers be made.
”I do worry that a bid could come in for Clayton,” he continued. ”We don’t look as if we’re going to lose any others in January, but if a bid came in for Clayton then it is something that we would have to consider if it would benefit him in the long run.
”I’m sure Clayton wants to play in the league above and at the moment we can't offer him that.”
Defender David Artell will be missing from the line-up having suffered a calf strain during last weekends 2-1 victory against Port Vale, however his replacement Adam Dugdale, who grabbed the winner in that game, is set to replace him and although Mat Mitchel-King has resumed training following a hernia operation, he may not be back to full strength ahead of the match.
Railwaymen from: Steve Phillips, Rhys Taylor, Bartek Fogler, Ben Garratt, Matt Tootle, Danny Blanchett, Ashley Westwood, Patrick Ada, Clayton Donaldson, Luke Murphy, Shaun Miller, Joel Grant, Lee Bell, Byron Moore, Mat Mitchel-King, Danny Shelley, Ajay Leitch-Smith, Kelvin Mellor, Carl Martin, Antoni Sarcevic, Harry Davis, Adam Dugdale, Nick Powell and Lewis Short.
Keith Stroud will be taking charge of the match and will be assisted by William Bull and Paul Kelly. Charles Breakspear is the fourth official.
The BBC weather forecast for the match given as white cloud with highs of 4°C.
Tickets for the match are set at:
Adult seats: £19, terrace: £17.
Concession (Over 60s, Military and students (both on production of ID cards only) seats: £15, terrace: £13.
Under 16s seats: £8, terrace £6.
For information on Family and Disabled ticket prices, please click here.
The match is not all-ticket and supporters can pay on the turnstiles on the day.
There are also 39 Premium Seating tickets available for the match at a cost of just £39 + VAT each. Please click here to find out more.
- BBC Radio Surrey
Supporters unable to make the match can hear live coverage from the match on BBC Radio Surrey (on 104.6 FM) which is brought to you by the regular team of Gavin Denison and Aldershot Town Media Manager Steve Gibbs.
Supporters are reminded that there is no internet coverage of this match.