Crewe Alexandra: Steve Davis sets side 10-game target for second successive promotion
STEVE Davis has set his team a 10-game target to prove they are good enough to push for a League One play-off spot and the chance of a second successive promotion.
The manager has set his players new goals after they pushed into the top-half of the table with a good run since November.
And now he has challenged them to maintain that form from now until the start of March before regrouping for a late burst into the business end of the season.
“The pleasing thing for me so far this year is to know we are good enough to remain in this league ... but how far we can go? Who knows?” he said.
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“We will only know that over the next 10 games and see where it takes us.
“I think we’ve got a good enough and young enough squad, all at a good age to keep developing and getting better.
“We’re showing in games that we are capable of getting good results, apart from last Saturday (a 2-1 defeat to Stevenage) and we’ve started to pick up results away from home as well, which is very encouraging.”
Davis on the never-ending search for perfection, admits there is still plenty to be ironed out on the training ground to ensure the Alex can continue their assault on the top teams.
He said: “There always seems to be those games when we are not quite on it around the corner. We haven’t quite cracked that yet.
“But it is a strong group, they are all capable of coming in and doing a job.”
Orient’s form over late 2012 was as impressive as Crewe’s, winning eight matches on the trot in all competitions in November and December.
Russell Slade’s side have since slipped to a defeat against Scunthorpe and Yeovil as they try to maintain FA Cup and Johnstone’s Paint Trophy campaigns as well as their climb up the League One ladder.
The Os have been consistently tough opponents, however, earning a hard-fought 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture back in September, the only time they have finished all-square in the league this season.
Davis said: “Orient were very good when they played at Gresty Road, very organised, very solid at the back and they don’t give a lot away or make many mistakes. They have got some pace up front and Kevin Lisbie has been a real threat for them this season. He came off with a hamstring strain in midweek, but he might still feature.
“They’ve got some very good players and they seem to either win or lose games, they haven’t clocked up many draws, so we’ll have to work hard to make sure we get the right result.”
Orient had to fight to end up on 50 points last term, putting them one position and seven points clear of the drop zone.
They sit 16th at the moment, but with growing ambitions of producing at least a top-half finish.
Davis said: “They had a bit of a relegation fight last year, but often when that’s the case the manager will do everything he can to make sure he avoids it next time around.
“They might have surprised a few people this season with how they’ve pulled together.
“All their games have been tight and very competitive and at the moment they are in mid-table with a game in hand on us, hoping to close that gap while we hope to pull away.
“It will be a tough game, but it’s one we are looking forward to.”
LUKE Murphy has missed out on being named League One’s player-of-the-month for December.
The Crewe captain, below, was one of three players in the division nominated for the award earlier this week, but the honour has gone to striker David McGoldrick instead.
McGoldrick was on loan from Nottingham Forest to Coventry in late 2012 and scored five goals in December before making a loan shuffle to Ipswich Town.