By Warren Lucy
Manager John Gregory rued his side’s lack of a cutting edge after Crawley’s 1-0 defeat at Preston North End on Saturday.
Joe Garner’s 23rd goal of the season proved the difference at Deepdale and Gregory feels Reds’ lack of goals scored “stands out like a sore thumb”.
The former Aston Villa boss reflected: “We had good chances to get goals today. The effort was there, the hard work, and everyone kept playing until the 93rd minute. The final ball from time to time just wasn’t quite right. They had one real chance and they’ve taken it.”
And Gregory believes scoring goals could turn out to be Crawley’s Achilles heel following a third consecutive game without finding the back of the net: “We’ve always had that problem,” the 59-year-old admitted.
“Certainly before I came there was a huge problem of not creating enough chances. In the last three games we’ve had chances and not taken them. It stands out like a sore thumb. That’s the way our season is at the moment.”
However, the ex-QPR manager also praised his players for their “tremendous effort” as Crawley won three out of nine March matches to move away from the relegation scrap in League One.
“To have amassed the amount of points we have has been a tremendous effort by everybody. We’ve just come unstuck in the last couple of games through a lack of scoring goals.
“It’s difficult with such a small squad. Had I not brought in the two boys (Jeffrey Monakana and Gwion Edwards) on loan this week I wouldn’t have been able to fill the bench up. We’ve got to battle on and keep focussed on the job in hand.”
Comparing both sides off the pitch, Gregory felt his team put up a fight against their fifth placed opponents who have the joint-best home record in the league – alongside Wolves - with just two defeats at Deepdale all season.
“I look at Preston and I think they’ve got a budget of around £4.5m, they play in this magnificent stadium, a fantastic pitch and the facilities are first class.
“I thought they were no better than us. We can hold our heads up high. We’ve got to pick ourselves up and get back to war on Tuesday night (against Port Vale),” the Reds chief concluded.