Saun­ders seek­ing clean bill of health

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By James Walker

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.”


D Barnsle


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