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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 February 2006, 14:37 GMT
Hollins backs Crawley to stay up
By Pete Oliver

Crawley boss John Hollins
Hollins is confidence Crawley will stay in the Conference
Crawley Town boss John Hollins insists he will keep them in the Conference.

The Red Devils are bottom of the table after winning just five games in a season that has been dogged by difficulties since day one.

Hollins has found it tough to turn the tide since his appointment at the end of November but is adamant that relegation will be avoided.

"We will do stay up. With 16 games to go we will be all right," Hollins told BBC Sport.

Hollins added: "I did not come here to mess about. I came here to do a job. I'm positive.

"It's not easy. If we were top of the league it would be a doddle, although even that has its difficulties. It's easy to fall off. Look at Chelsea, they are only 12 points clear now!"

The task of trying to revive Crawley's fortunes is a far cry from Hollins's days as a player and manager at Stamford Bridge.

New owners with new money and fresh ideas did arrive at Crawley last year but their investment is yet to pay off.

The club's form nose-dived in the final third of last season - their first at Conference level - and Crawley were about to kick-off in August when the team suddenly switched to full-time status.

"Results showed at the end of last season that things were not right," said Hollins.

"Going full-time was a brave step and a good step by the owners, who have put their money where their mouth is.

"But having been a part-time team - and you would find this with most teams, not just us - the change-over is not easy, especially if it's done prior to the first game.

"All of a sudden you are bringing a lot of players in and panicking because you haven't got enough, because that's what professional teams have a decent squad.

"You have to have a pre-season and I don't think we had that. The fitness levels were down and we have been trying to get everyone fit and playing the right way through matches and trial and error."

Hollins, who was appointed following the sacking of Francis Vines, has so far guided Crawley to just one Conference victory.

And supporters vented their anger at the club's current plight following a home defeat in the FA Trophy by Boreham Wood earlier this month.

To his credit, Hollins fronted up to the fans and plans to be at the Broadfield Stadium for the long-term.

He added: "It's not easy at times and supporters get frustrated. I understand that.

"Everything comes around to if we have got enough (about us) to do what we want to do. We are instilling the belief that we can do it.

"We are still trying to get players to come in and help us through this situation.

"We keep working hard trying to install systems and structures and work to budgets, which is all difficult. They are problems, but problems can be solved.

"We are looking at ourselves and the players have to look at themselves. We have all had to pull together since 6 August, nothing has changed."

What must change is Crawley's current form, although Hollins was buoyed by his side's performance in losing by a single goal at Grays Athletic last Saturday.

The recent fixture list has not been kind but Crawley now face a number of games against sides in the bottom half of the table.

"They are ones we've got to win," said Hollins.

"We have been losing by the odd goal and people have been saying we're the best team they have played.

"I want us to be the worst team and win 1-0, even though we want to play the right way."




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