PREVIEW: Wanderers v Crewe Alexandra

Wanderers launch their Papa Johns Trophy campaign tonight (Tuesday) with a Group B opener at home to Crewe Alexandra.

The Whites reached the last-16 last season and will be looking to advance to the knock-out stages again from a group that also includes Leeds United’s U21s and Tranmere Rovers.

The top two sides will advance to the last-32 with Wanderers also facing a home tie against Leeds to complete their group games in mid-October.

Crewe – relegated to League Two last season – reached the last-16 in 2021/22 before losing to eventual winners Rotherham United.

Group games are concluded after 90 minutes, although drawn games will go to a penalty shoot-out with the ‘winners’ gaining an extra point.

Manager quotes

Ian Evatt: “It’s important we do (win the game). A lot of the performance on Saturday was very good, but performances don’t always win you points.

“We need to get back to winning ways.

“It will be good to get some players some minutes and we’ll see where we’re at then.”

Crewe manager Alex Morris:

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"It’s a different type of game to approach.

"We’ve gone through who we’re going to select and we're looking forward to the challenge of facing a team that’s going to put out a strong side due to their squad depth.”

Team news

Wanderers are expected to include returning midfielders Josh Sheehan and Lloyd Isgrove.

And there could also be a debut for summer signing Eoin Toal (below) after the defender played 45 minutes on his comeback from injury in the B team last week.

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Sheehan and Isgrove haven’t featured at senior level since last November but have both played twice for the B team so far this season and are set to add to their game-time as they near welcome first-team returns.

Boss Ian Evatt is likely to make further changes to share the workload and give further opportunities within his squad as the Whites play their eighth and final game of a busy August.

Striker Jon Dadi Bodvarsson remains sidelined with a hamstring injury, while wing-back Declan John was having an Achilles tendon issue addressed.

Crewe are likely to be without former Wanderers’ loanee Chris Long.

The striker, top scorer for the Railwaymen with 10 goals last season, has been out since pre-season with an ankle injury and isn’t expected to return until next weekend.

On-loan Brentford winger Lachlan Brook is also out injured but forward Bassala Sambou is available following a three-match ban.

Form guide

Wanderers are looking to bounce back after successive League One defeats.

The Whites won all three of their group games in the Papa Johns Trophy last season and completed a league double over Crewe.

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The Railwaymen have made a positive start to life in League Two following relegation, taking 11 points from their first six games to sit seventh in the table.

After successive defeats to Grimsby in the Carabao Cup and the Salford, Crewe are unbeaten in their last three games – including a 0-0 draw at Bradford City last Saturday.


Referee: Scott Oldham

Assistant referees: Lewis Raper and Helen Edwards

Fourth official: Shaun Taylor

Kick-off: Tuesday 7pm


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