Byline: Mario Risoli
GARETH WHALLEY believes Crewe winning automatic promotion should not be considered a surprise - even though the Railwaymen have spent a fraction of Cardiff City's outlay in the transfer market. The former Crewe midfielder tomorrow returns to the ground where his career began for a fixture that was long seen as a promotion decider.
But it has been rendered a meaningless affair with Crewe snatching the second and last automatic promotion spot and the Bluebirds consigned to the play-offs. Lennie Lawrence and his players know they will have to endure a Gresty Road promotion party tomorrow afternoon - the Cheshire outfit having gone up with a side that cost pounds 2.4m, loose change compared with the near-pounds 8m City's Sam Hammam has forked out on players since arriving in South Wales three years ago.
``The set-up at Crewe is light years ahead of many First Division clubs, let alone Second,'' said Whalley.
``Crewe haven't got the financial backing that Cardiff have, but they do have a great training ground and great facilities.
``I'm not surprised they've gone up. Most of the players there have come through the youth system.
``They know the way Dario (Gradi) wants them to play.
``They've also been very lucky with injuries this season.
``Before the season started I felt Wigan, Crewe and ourselves would be challenging for a place in the top two and that's how it turned out.
``Crewe play the same, week in, week out. …