Saunders seeking clean bill of health
CRAWLEY boss Dean Saunders is hoping to avoid any further injuries after his side’s second win since October moved them to within two points of safety.
The Red Devils, who are missing five players through injury, landed their biggest win of the season thanks to an Izale McLeod hat-trick and goals from Sonny Bradley and Marvin Elliott.
Meanwhile Barnsley, widely tipped for promotion pre-season, sacked underperforming manager Danny Wilson midweek and the club now finds itself just four points clear of the drop.
Saunders said: “It’s a great way to respond after getting beaten 50 on Tuesday.
“Barnsley are expected to get promotion with the budget they have got and the players they have got.We were up against it but we’ve defended well and the strikers have done their bit.
“When I took the job I knew we weren’t going to win every week, we’re in a relegation battle and I’ve got to try and pick the players up each week.
“We just need to get the injured players fit now. If we get a couple of injuries we’re in trouble because we haven’t got a big squad.”
McLeod opened with a delicate lob deep into first-half stoppage time after ex-Chelsea keeper Ross Turnbull rushed off his line to gather Mathias Pogba’s flicked header.
Bradley and Elliott then added to the host’s lead, with both goals coming from free-kicks by debutant Lee Fowler.
Bradley calmly passed into the bottom right after Barnsley failed to clear and ten minutes later Elliott headed into the middle of the goal from deep in the six-yard-box.
McLeod then punished Barnsley for unforced mistakes made by Lewin Nyatanga and Josh Scowen.
Nyatanga was dispossessed by McLeod on the edge of the area and his 73rd-minute shot went into Turnbull’s bottom corner. Ten minutes later Scowen’s wayward pass was gathered by Lewis Young, who ran half the pitch before being blocked, only for McLeod to fire in the rebound.
Kane Hemmings headed in a 65thminute consolation but academy boss Mark Burton, who is in temporary charge, could find no positives.
“It’s very strange.We showed no character and spirit and that’s got to be addressed,” Burton said.
“It was an absolute horror show and I am absolutely devastated for the fans who travelled down here and paid a lot of money to see that in the second-half.
“I saw three or four players here throwing the towel in and I am not up for that. I will do this job to the best of my abilities until I am told otherwise and there will be changes because I am not tolerating that.”
STAR MAN IZALE MCLEO