04/05: Preview: Crewe Alexandra
by Matt Rowson
How did they do?
"The visitors then started to find a little joy, as the impressive Jones made some forays into the home penalty area. One such run ended when Cook tripped Jones just inside the box and Ashton coolly despatched the resulting penalty. This was unlucky for Cook, as he worked hard to track the runs all day, just as he has been told to do. He got an immediate chance to make amends though, as Mahon made a barnstorming run through the middle of the park and slipped a glorious ball into Cook's path. His shot was blocked by Foster, but the Crewe centre half's clearance cannoned into his team-mate Wright and into the back of the net to put Watford back in front within seconds of losing their lead. Luck maybe, but we're long past the stage where we care how the ball goes in, just so long as it does. Besides, the run from Mahon alone deserved a goal."
How will they do?
The difficulty in pre-judging Dario Gradi's sides is that the stars are more likely to emerge from within than arrive from elsewhere and are therefore not always conspicuous. However, and bearing this in mind, the departures of two key names in Wright and Brammer will only weaken a squad that was already struggling for form at the end of last season. Survival depends on Dean Ashton's ability - and willingness - to take on greater responsibility with last year's captain and vice-captain departed.