Walsh looks good bet for Reds award

Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh

First published in Sport by

Joe Walsh is likely to be named Crawley Town’s player of the season today.

But the contribution of Walsh’s central defensive partner Kyle McFadzean should not be overlooked.

Crawley finish the League One season at home to Bristol City, chasing a win which could lift them to 12th in the final table.

John Gregory can sign off his first campaign as Reds manager safe in the knowledge he has a defensive pairing – both under contract for next season – to mould a team around.

Former Swansea defender Walsh has been a model of consistency for Reds while McFadzean, having missed a large chunk of last season with a mystery virus, has looked back to his best in the last two months of the campaign with some commanding performances which have impressed his manager.

Gregory said this week he knew where his vote for player of the season would go and, while not naming McFadzean, his admiration for Crawley’s No. 5 is obvious.

He said: “We have quite a few awards after the game and I think there will be a selection of winners, it won’t all be the same player.

“Throughout the course of the season there have been various stages where certain players have stood out for two or three games and then other players have come along and stood out.

“I know who I would vote for as my player of the season but I have only been here for half of the season so I don’t think I get a vote.”

Gregory believes today’s opponents Bristol City will be contenders next season.

The Robins were bottom of the table following Steve Cotterill’s first league game in charge against Rotherham on December 14 but the former Albion loan striker has led them to a comfortable mid-table finish.

Gregory said: “Steve Cotterill is a good coach, a good manager and he has done very well there. I’m somewhat envious of the kind of budget he works with and the size of his football club.

“Once Steve gets them all in during the summer, much like myself, and picks his own players, prepares his team in the manner he wants them to, they will be a very strong team in this division next season.”

Josh Simpson and Mike Jones are expected to return from minor injuries which ruled them out of the goalless draw with Carlisle on Tuesday while Paul Connolly is available after serving a five-match ban. Sergio Torres is ruled out after injuring a hand in midweek while Billy Clarke remains sidelined with a broken hand.

Crawley (4-4-2, possible): P Jones; M Connolly, McFadzean, Walsh, Sadler; Simpson, Drury, Bulman, M Jones; Proctor, Tubbs. Subs from: Maddison, Essam, P Connolly, Dicker, Edwards, Richefond, Isaacs, Fallon.

Bristol City (3-2-3-2, probable): Moore; Nosworthy, Osborne, Williams; Wagstaff, Cunningham; Gillett, Pack, Elliott; Baldock, Paterson. Subs from: Richards, Moloney, Pearson, Kelly, Reid, Burns, Emmanuel-Thomas, Barnett.

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