Crawley Town defender Mark Connolly reckons they will soon get their first win

Mark Connolly tussles for the ball during this afternoon's friendly with Portsmouth. Picture by Neil Marshall.
Mark Connolly tussles for the ball during this afternoon's friendly with Portsmouth. Picture by Neil Marshall.

Crawley Town defender Mark Connolly believes the team are not far away from a win after promising signs in their opening games.

The former Republic of Ireland U21s international and Bolton player revealed his team-mates are fitter and well-prepared under new boss Harry Kewell.

He reckons gradual improvement in certain areas and hard work should see Crawley get on the winning trail.

Connolly, 25, said: “We’ve been as prepared as we can be for each game - a lot of hard work has gone into pre-season.

“Each training session is designed for a certain purpose. It’s been very tough but very enjoyable so far.

Connolly admitted they have made mistakes at the back which have led to them conceding goals.

He said: “Defensively a few goals have been a bit sloppy. Probably against Cheltenham I could have got in earlier to try to head the ball away for the goal.

I know it sounds a bit silly when we have lost our first two games but defensively it’s felt quite good and comfortable. Teams have not broken through us.

“A lot of the goals have been down to our own mistakes, may that be switching off, or deflection from their free-kick and sometimes not communicating with each other. As a defence and team we need to keep clean sheets and score goals at the other side.

“We are giving ourselves a mountain to climb when we go a goal or two down and leave ourselves open. If we are 1-0 up it’s a different game completely.

Connolly pointed to how even the games have been so far, with neither of their opponents dominating.

“Against Port Vale and Cheltenham no-one would say they have really cut us open or were the better team.

“Port Vale, the majority of the game we were better and in the second half we could have scored three or four, but unfortunately we didn’t and goals win games, clean sheets win games and that’s what we need to start doiong as a team.

“It’s slowly getting there. There’s been a lot of changes. In football it’s very difficult when a new manager comes in and new players for it to happen how everyone wants it to happen. At the moment I don’t think we are far away at all.

“The manager’s been working very hard on stuff for every game we are playing, for how he wants us to play, the way he wants us organised. Every day that goes past has been beneficial - our fitness levels are getting better every week. In the first two games their strikers for the teams we have played have been cramping up after 60 minutes and coming off.

“We are a lot fitter than we were last year and we will only get fitter because training has been very intense, very good, I think it’s about being patient and results will come.”