RICHIE Wellens hopes Crewe Alexandra will plan for an open game when Swindon Town make the trip to Gresty Road this weekend.

Town have picked up just one point from their last three League Two fixtures but Wellens is optimistic that form can turn around despite the fact table-topping Crewe are their next opponents.

Wellens feels his team match up better against more expansive opposition than sides who keep things tight – and that attacking approach is one that has helped the Alex hit the top of the standings.

Should Crewe chief David Artell stick with his tried and trusted method, the Town boss believes it will suit his own players too.

When asked if he thinks Crewe will want a free-flowing game, Wellens said: “I hope so – I think that’s what they have been doing.

“I think against the teams we have played this season that play football, we have invariably come out on top.

“I would like it to be a good football match but if it is not, we are getting better at the defensive stuff – the ugly side of the game – as we proved in the last 20 minutes against Plymouth last Saturday when we were dead on our feet.

“If anyone watched us in the first 10 or 11 games, I think they would say we are a good footballing team and we pass out from the back.

“Since we lost Dion (Conroy), we have had to come away from that.

“I want to make the pitch as big as possible because I think we have got players in attacking who, if we get them one-on-one, can create goals.

“We have had to come away from that, which is hard, but we are going to try to get back to that at the weekend.”

Town had to produce a backs-to-the-wall effort in the closing stages of last Saturday’s home meeting against Plymouth Argyle – a game that ended 1-1.

Given the injury-enforced changes in his back-line and the fact a couple of new free agent recruits, Gabriel Zakuani and Dion Donohue, have come straight into the team, Wellens admits Swindon might have to cope with some late Crewe dominance this weekend.

“We have to think that it might be an issue,” said Wellens.

“I have been a player where I have not had a proper pre-season.

“With experienced players, if they are tired then what they tend to do is look after themselves.

“If you have got three of your back four who have not played much football lately, they are going to use that experience.

“They are not going to get isolated, they don’t want to get done in the space behind, so they drop five yards deeper and then pull the midfield players on top of them so they don’t get dragged out of their area.

“We have had a week’s training, so I expect us to be fitter and I expect us to be a little bit better.

“In the next two to three weeks, I expect us to totally take that out of the equation.”