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Adams: Reds are looking good
Nicky Adams likes the way Crawley are shaping up for the new season.
The Reds are only two games into their pre-season programme and have made only two additions to the squad since last season.
But playmaker Adams believes the team is coming together nicely as they look to at least repeat last year’s unexpected promotion challenge.
The Reds finished tenth in League One last season, just six points adrift of the play-offs, which was remarkable considering they were a non-league side as recently as 2011.
They also had to contend with manager Richie Barker taking over on the eve of the campaign before overseeing both a dramatic change in style and an overhaul of the squad.
Further change has been minimal so far this summer as Reds contend with both a change in their financial circumstances and the implications of Financial Fair Play.
But Adams, now embarking on his second season as a Crawley player, likes what he has seen so far.
The two signings to date are the return of former loanee Andy Drury on a free transfer from Ipswich Town plus the capture of right-back James Hurst from West Brom.
Adams said: “They are both very good signings. Andy Drury is very good on the ball, experienced and has played at a top level for a long time. He will give us that experience in the midfield.
“Hursty is very athletic. He can get up and down. They will be two good players for us.
“We had a great season last year. We didn’t finish too far away from the play-offs and maybe these additions will help us get towards the play-offs again. We have a good squad now. A few more additions to the team will be good for us.”
Barker has made it clear he wants to make further signings before the new season kicks off at home to Coventry City on August 3.
The squad lacks depth but, whoever comes in, Adams looks a surefire starter for that season opener.
The former Bury, Leicester, Brentford and Rochdale player enjoyed an excellent first season at the Broadfield Stadium, scoring eight goals in 46 league appearances.
He added another in Crawley’s second pre-season game, a 2-1 defeat at home to Championship side Ipswich Town on Wednesday when he was also named man-of-the-match.
Now Adams hopes to continue that positive start to pre-season at home to Millwall today.
He said: “It was a great workout against a very good Ipswich side. They came with a full squad. Obviously they had two teams, both very strong, and it was good for us.
“I am a confident person. I like to get on the ball and play, make things happen. I will never change. I will always try to something different. Sometimes things don’t come off but if you don’t try them they don’t work. I was really pleased with my performance.
“I had a couple of chances to score but I hit that one quite well and it got us back into the game. It is just good to get off the mark against a good side and it gets the confidence even more up.
“I’m looking forward to Millwall. These are the games you want to play and then I’m looking forward to the start of the season.”
Drury, Hurst, Josh Simpson and Joe Walsh will all be missing today with minor knocks which will rule them out for up to ten days.
Young striker Jonte Smith has been told he is starting up front.
Smith made his senior debut last season and could play an increasing role this year with Jamie Proctor, Gary Alexander and Billy Clarke the only other forwards on the books.
Barker said: “I thought Jonte did well on Wednesday when he came on against Ipswich so he will start.
“He’s come back looking fit and has worked on the strength and conditioning programme we put him on during the close season. He has worked extremely hard in training and it will be an opportunity for him to impress.”