Date: 1st January 2019 at 9:00am
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This afternoon sees 2019’s first game and a trip to Gigg Lane to face Bury.

Looking at the hosts, so far this season they have 11 victories, 7 draws and 7 losses in the league as they sit in 5th place. They have beaten Yeovil Town, Morecambe, Grimsby Town, Swindon Town, Colchester United, Notts County, Macclesfield Town, Stevenage, Cheltenham Town, Exeter City and Tranmere Rovers, their draws have come against Forest Green Rovers, Northampton Town, Mansfield Town, us, Newport County, Cambridge United and Notts County while they have lost to MK Dons, Lincoln City, Crawley Town, Carlisle United, Port Vale, Oldham Athletic and Mansfield Town.

In cup competitions, they lost to Luton Town in the 2nd Round of the FA Cup after knocking out Dover Athletic, they lost on penalties to Nottingham Forest in the EFL Cup while they have Accrington Stanley in the 3rd Round of the EFL Trophy next week after finishing 2nd in their group and beating Mansfield in Round 2.

Looking back in the archives, the two teams have met 53 times with Bury leading the head-to-head with 20 wins to 18 with 15 draws. Crewe’s biggest win came in a 3-0 victory at the Alexandra Stadium in September 2010 while Bury’s biggest win came at Gresty Road in October 1894 where they won 5-1. The last season that the clubs met was 3 seasons ago where both meetings ended in draws, a 3-3 near the start of the season at the Alexandra Stadium before a 0-0 at Gigg Lane in January 2016.

Who are the officials for the game?

The officials for this game see Sebastian Stockbridge as the man in the middle where he is assisted by Craig Taylor and Billy Khatib with Mark Cunliffe being the fourth official. During the last 5 seasons the following Crewe games have been refereed by Stockbridge:

  • Crewe Alexandra 1-3 Notts County (25th March 2014) – Ellis
  • Crewe Alexandra 1-1 Preston North End (28th December 2014) – Cooper
  • Burton Albion 0-0 Crewe Alexandra (20th October 2015)
  • Crewe Alexandra 1-2 Barnsley (27th February 2016) – Guthrie
  • Crewe Alexandra 1-4 Cheltenham Town (15th November 2016, FA Cup)
  • Crewe Alexandra 1-2 Cambridge United (1st April 2017) – o.g.
  • Crewe Alexandra 2-0 Grimsby Town (1st January 2018) – Porter, Walker
  • Carlisle United 1-0 Crewe Alexandra (25th August 2018)

I asked Bury supporter Peter Taylor, writer of the Bury Me In Exile blog, for his thoughts going into the game.

How do feel that your season has gone since we last played?

Pretty well, all things considered. Yes, things have tapered off a bit in terms of both results and performances during December, but Bury are still faring better in the league than most of the fanbase would’ve expected at the halfway mark. Crewe were fortunate to take a point in an encounter dominated by the visitors, and a similar pattern of supremacy was played out for the Shakers over the next two months, usually with three points in tow.

The Christmas period has been poor, and it will be interesting to see if Ryan Lowe’s promise of a ‘performance (being) around the corner’ happens tomorrow.

What do you think the team will be for tomorrow’s game?

A bit up in the air, particularly in midfield. Captain Neil Danns went off injured at half-time, Callum Styles and Jamie Barjonas’ loan agreements are set to run out tomorrow. Squad depth is light in that department, even before the possibility of them both returning to their parent clubs.

Chris Stokes and Eoghan O’Connell could also be absent in central defence: Joe Murphy; Nicky Adams, Tom Miller, Will Aimson, Adam Thompson, Callum McFadzean; Stephen Dawson, Jay O’Shea; Danny Mayor; Caolan Lavery, Nicky Maynard.

Is Mayor the danger man for this game or is there someone else that we should look out for?

He is if fit; he certainly wasn’t 100% in the stalemate against Notts County on Saturday, and that’s unlikely to have changed in the space of a few days. The perceived reluctance of Lowe to introduce some of the younger talents at the club to first-team league action, coupled with a ridged adherence (however understandable) to an attack-minded 5-2-1-2, is beginning to make it quite predictable for the opposition to identify the threats and adjust their approach accordingly.

Any changes in where you will finish (previously said that you would take winning more than you lose) or to who you think will be promoted and relegated?

Probably not, actually. New owner/chairman Steve Dale wants the club run like an actual business, and one of the ways that could manifest itself is by slashing the wage bill, with a number of high earners out on loan and/or out of favour. Mayor is inevitably a target for other sides, and he’s unlikely to be the only one coveted.

I’ll stick with my picks for promotion. As for relegation, maybe Yeovil Town should be considered after all, with the fans turning on the board and Darren Way in droves. I’d still put Macclesfield Town in that category, despite benefitting from a bounce under new boss Sol Campbell.