Gregory aims for some FA Cup romance with Crawley Town

John Gregory shouts instructions during his first game in charge of Crawley Town who drew 0-0 at Bristol Rovers in the FA Cup
John Gregory shouts instructions during his first game in charge of Crawley Town who drew 0-0 at Bristol Rovers in the FA Cup

Crawley Town manager John Gregory admits to having a special love of the FA Cup ahead of Reds’ Second Round replay with League 2 club Bristol Rovers tonight (Wednesday).

Gregory has great memories of the FA Cup having reached two finals with QPR as a player and Aston Villa as a manager.

He said: “The FA Cup holds a lot of glory and romance for me. I come from a generation when as a child and a schoolboy it was a huge competition.

“It’s lost some of its glory in recent years but every now and then there are great days like when Crawley played Manchester Utd not so long ago.

“Bristol Rovers come here with nothing to lose. They got beaten (2-1) in the last three minutes at Morecambe (on Saturday) and then had a miserable, long trip home.

“We intend to give them another miserable journey home as they are in the way of us playing in the third round.

“We will go out as favourites because we’re at home.

“We expect them not to sit back and they will come at us.

“Matt Harrold up front is a handful and it all revolves around him. I thought Kyle McFadzean and Joe Walsh played him very well at Bristol (in the 0-0 draw).”

His players’ confidence will have been lifted by a resounding comeback on Saturday during which Reds recovered from a desperate situation, trailing 2-0 at home to third-placed Preston North End to end up clinching a 2-2 draw.

It was welcome relief for Reds fans and the new boss alike, keen to start his tenure in positive fashion.

In doing so Crawley scored two goals and put an end to a poor run of form of managing only one goal in their last eight league matches which cost former manager Richie Barker his job.

He said: “I think if that game had gone on for a few more minutes we’d have definately won it. It was almost like a victory because of the quality of the opposition, a huge budget and some very good players. Our players can take a lot of credit from it.

“We’re happy and buoyant after a magnificent second half display and we’ll be fired up and chomping at the bit.”

For anyone unable to go to the Checkatrade.com Stadium, the game will be broadcast live on BT Sport.

There will be plenty to play for with prize money at stake and the further lure of playing former Premier League club Birmingham City away in the Third Round.