First bloomin’ real preview this site has seen in months and there’s a chance that the game may not even go ahead.
Forecasts suggest a good chance that we could be waking up to a frozen pitch in the morning and despite the club putting covers on the pitch temperatures of as low as -5 degrees could deem them useless.
But looking on the bright side, if the game goes ahead we have a chance of finally breaking back into the top half of the division and extending our unbeaten run to six games.
Torquay stand in the way of both of those possibilities, they arrive at Gresty Road on the back of a mini-revival although they still sit in 19th in the league.
They have won three in their last four although two of those wins were against Cheltenham and Darlington – not great sides. Their most impressive was a mid-week thumping of League One (for now) Stockport County, 4-0, in the FA Cup.
However they are 19th in the league for a reason and that is because of their away form which is in fact worse than our home form. So good job we’re the home side tomorrow.
Torquay was the home of Fawlty Towers, which was inspired by the town’s Gleneagles Hotel.
Despite that, the Fawlty Towers series was all filmed in London.
Rodney Jack began his career at the Gulls. He played over 90 games for Torquay before we paid £650,000 for his services. Bargain.
Torquay were the first ever League team to win promotion on a penalty shoot out in 1991 when they beat Blackpool in the Division Four play-offs.
Soccer AM host Helen Chamberlain is the club’s most famous supporter. She has a tattoo of the club badge on her left buttock. Apparently.
Crewe Team News:
The young star that is Ashley Westwood is expected to make the game despite worries over his fitness. Westy was taken off during last weekend’s game at Barnet after jarring his knee but trained on Friday having recovered.
Steven Schumacher and James Bailey remain out but it’s likely that Dario will name the same team once more, as has been the case for the last few weeks.
Player to watch: Clayton Donaldson
Donaldson is on a hot streak. Now match fit after his leg break earlier this season, Donaldson has hit four goals in his last five games.
Fair to say he’s becoming a massive part of the team set up and his partnership with Calvin Zola, already with 13 goals this season, has to be one of the better ones in the league.
Torquay Team News:
Torquay will be travelling with pretty much a fully fit squad. Left back Adam Smith remains the only doubt.
Torquay from: Poke; Nicholson, Ellis, Robertson, Mansell, Sills, Benyon, Rendell, Wroe, Thompson, Hargreaves, Carlisle, Stevens, Adams, Zebroski, Charnock, Bevan, Thomson.
Player to watch: Elliot Benyon
Benyon fired a hat-trick past Stockport on Tuesday to take him to the top of the Torquay scoring charts with 9 goals for the season.
But with there doubts over whether he’ll be on the bench or not, when he does take to the field he’ll no doubt be full of confidence and with a point to prove. Not a great combination.
Match Facts & Stats
Crewe Form – L-D-W-W-D-W
Torquay Form – D-L-D-W-L-W
Crewe Top Scorers:
Zola – 13
Grant – 6
Donaldson & Schumacher – 4
Torquay Top Scorers:
Benyon – 9
Wroe – 8
Rendell – 6
Crewe Bad Boys:
Zola – Fouls 23, Yellows 1, Reds 0
Grant – F21, Y0, R0
Schumacher – F17, Y0, R0
Torquay Bad Boys:
Charnock – F31, Y3, R1
Wroe – F30, Y5, R0
Hargreaves – F28, Y4, R0
Shots On Goal:
Crewe – 157 on, 160 off, 8 hit woodwork.
Torquay – 156 on, 116 off, 6 hit woodwork.
The referee for the match will be Paul Tierney. Not the former loanee from Man Utd.
Tierney has assisted in the UEFA Cup and last season was running the lines for the League Two play-off semi-final between Rochdale and Darlington. It’s his first year as a football league referee and so far he’s handed out 26 yellow cards in 11 games. He’s also dished out two red cards.
Paul Marsden and Lee Metcalfe will assist Tierney, fourth official will be William Smallwood.
Crewe 3-1 Torquay.
Rochdale visit Gresty Road on Boxing Day so you can escape the rubbish films that will inevitably be on TV.