MAT SADLER believes Crawley are going places under John Gregory next season – but wants them to guarantee their League One safety first.
The former Birmingham City full-back has been hugely impressed with the impact Gregory has made since taking over from Richie Barker at the start of December and is excited by what the club can achieve in his first full campaign. Reds briefly threatened to mount a play-off challenge this season after picking up some notable results in Gregory’s first few months in charge, only for their form to drop away since the start of March.
Victory at MK Dons on Saturday ended a run of six consecutive defeats and means three points at home to struggling Tranmere tonight would virtually guarantee their place in the division for another year.
Sadler is out of contract in the summer but has hinted he would like to stay to be part of what he is confident will be a serious promotion challenge next season.
The 29-year-old hopes the majority of his team-mates who are in a similar position will also stay at the Checkatrade.com Stadium and thinks that the addition of a handful of new faces would make Reds a real force to be reckoned with.
Sadler said: “First things first, we need to make sure we are safe this season by winning tonight and then we can start to look ahead.
“There are quite a few of us out of contract but until we have got to that 52-point mark, which should be enough to keep us in this division, I don’t think we should be thinking about things like that. “I’m more than happy to sort it out when the time is right. I’m just focusing on football and letting everything else take care of itself.
“But I’ve really enjoyed it down here. Any club where you go and play all the games you have to be happy at and the new manager has come in and done a good job too.
“We can all see that we have got a good group of players and with the addition of two or three new faces I think we’d have a team really capable of mounting a genuine push for promotion.
Mark Connolly is expected to return to the starting line-up for Crawley at home to Tranmere tonight.
Namesake Paul Connolly, who is awaiting the outcome of his appeal over a charge of violent conduct, is likely to be missing with a groin injury which forced him off early in the 2-0 win at MK Dons on Saturday.
A broken hand will again rule out Billy Clarke. Tranmere will check on the fitness of Jason Koumas (toe) but skipper James Wallace is still out with a groin injury.