Anything less than promotion will be failure for new Crawley boss Gregory

The Argus: John Gregory agreed an 18-month contract at Crawley yesterday John Gregory agreed an 18-month contract at Crawley yesterday

New Crawley manager John Gregory admits he will have failed unless he wins promotion to the Championship.

Gregory made a sensational return to English football after an absence of more than six years when he signed an 18-month contract to replace Richie Barker at the Checkatrade.com Stadium yesterday.

Reds are currently 21 points behind the top two in League One following a run of eight games without a win which cost Barker his job last Wednesday.

They are also nine points off the play-off zone but former Albion player Gregory insists they can put a run together to challenge for promotion this season.

The former Aston Villa boss said: “I don’t want everybody connected with this club to think ‘little old Crawley, we aren’t doing bad’. People might say we are punching above our weight but I don’t want us to have that attitude.

“We are in League One on merit. We’ve worked hard to get where we are. Is there a chance we could go up another division? Of course there is.

“Wherever we have come from is history. It is a fantastic history but we can’t continue to look in the past, we have got to start looking forward.

“For me automatic promotion, that is where we want to get to without question. If there is a chance we can get there we’ve got to take it.

“If we aim there and finish up in the play-offs then we’ll accept that but you have got to look as high as you possibly can.

“Nothing is beyond anybody in football and we will certainly be aiming as high as we can. The play-offs are the minimum.”

Chief executive Michael Dunford says Gregory was the outstanding candidate to “reignite” Crawley’s fortunes and has confirmed the former Albion midfielder will have money to spend to mount a promotion challenge in January.

Dunford said: “There is a tight budget here but we will always try to support the manager and this is no different.

“He is going to look at the squad and if he comes to us with a suggestion of bringing in two or three extra players I am certain we will move heaven and earth to try to accommodate that.”

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