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Crawley caretaker says ‘really tough time’ for club amid John Yems allegations

Interim Crawley boss Lewis Young spoke about the John Yems situation (Gareth Fuller/PA)
Interim Crawley boss Lewis Young spoke about the John Yems situation (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Lewis Young praised his Crawley players’ integrity after a difficult end to the season that culminated in a 3-3 draw at Oldham.

With manager John Yems leaving the club amid allegations that he used discriminatory language and behaviour against his own players, assistant manager Young has taken the reins and watched on as Crawley – with their own uprightness questioned by outsiders – fought back from 2-0 and 3-2 down to grab a Sky Bet League Two draw.

“The last few weeks have been really tough for us to deal with as a group and also for me as a young coach,” said Young. “I think I’ve dealt with things that some coaches don’t have to deal with in five, 10 or 20 years.

“We had a bereavement on the way up yesterday, so it’s been a really tough time but, ultimately, we’ve stuck together as a group. We’ve just tried to keep their spirits up and focus on what we can control, which is playing football.

“I’m restricted in what I can say about what’s going on, and there are things going to be said that we’d say are wide of the mark.

“There will be a time when we’re able to speak and say our part, we know as individuals in that dressing room what we stand for and what we won’t stand for.

“Ultimately I’m stuck not being able to say too much and for the last few weeks I’ve tried to stay calm with what’s going on but we as individuals inside of it, who are living it, know that there are certain things we wouldn’t have stood for.

“It’s been a tough few weeks with a lot of noise questioning our integrity, and that’s really hurt, but the boys know what we would and wouldn’t stand for. Hopefully the investigation will shine some light on some of the claims.”

Supporters of already relegated Oldham had protested about controversial owner Abdallah Lemsagam before the game and first-half goals from Jack Stobbs and David Keillor-Dunn failed to raise their spirits much.

George Francomb and James Tilley drew the visitors level before half-time to prompt more dissatisfaction among the home crowd.

A fine strike from Jordan Clarke put Latics 3-2 up on the hour mark but Aramide Oteh bundled in Crawley’s third goal to deny the hosts a victory to send them into the non-league system.

And manager John Sheridan says he has a busy summer ahead of him as he makes plans for the club’s first foray into the Vanarama National League.

“I’m pleased the season’s over, to be fair, glad we’ve got it out of the way,” he said. “It has been difficult over the last two weeks after we’d been relegated. I wanted to try to win the last two games and that wasn’t to be, we’ve got to move on now.

“It’s been difficult for everyone concerned. The end product is that we’ve gone out of the Football League so I have to try to build us back up again and build a team that can get us back out of the league that we’re going into.

“I don’t want to dwell on it now, it’s done. I’ve got some honest decisions to make.

“We started the game really well, gone 2-0 up and we were moving the ball around nice and bright. Then we took our foot off the pedal again and allow the opposition to come back into the game.

“We need leaders out on the pitch. We’re going to lose games but we need to be very hard to play against. I want teams not to enjoy coming to play Oldham. I have done it before when I’ve been the manager here and we’ve been alright and I need to try to get those people in and get them on the pitch.”

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