Colin Todd reckons City are on the verge of recovery.

Although the 3-2 defeat against Brighton was their fifth in six games, the boss firmly believes his side are close to transforming their fortunes.

They face Crewe Alexandra in the FA Cup on Saturday in what could be seen as a welcome distraction from their worrying League One slump.

But Todd feels it isn't all doom and gloom at Valley Parade.

"There was some very good signs on Saturday," he maintained.

"When we lost to Blackpool by four we were 2-0 down at half-time. We were in a similar position against Brighton.

"We were 2-0 down just after the interval but the response was tremendous. It was much-improved and if we'd have seen that at Blackpool, who knows what could have happened?

"It was a kick in the teeth getting back to 2-2 against Brighton and then losing a goal in the last minute but the signs are encouraging.

"We didn't fold and should have had a point out of the game."

Given their recent knockout record, in which they have lost numerous matches against lower-ranked opposition, Todd is actually glad City have familiar faces arriving this weekend.

"People look at the cup draw and there's a lot of non-league clubs in there," he added.

"At least we've got a team coming here who have a cup pedigree. Crewe have a track record which we saw the other week when they played Manchester United and virtually took them to penalties.

"We've already played Crewe this season and beat them but since then they've made changes.

"Now we have to make sure we make our home advantage pay. That's going to be key on Saturday."

City - who beat Crewe 3-0 at Gresty Road in August - have lost their last four games at Valley Parade but are buoyed by confirmation three of their loan players have gained permission to feature.

Todd feared Leeds' Ben Parker and Derby duo Lee Holmes and Nathan Doyle could all be forced by their clubs to sit out the first-round clash.

That would have left him with major headaches, given his already paper-thin squad.

"We would have been short if it hadn't happened but we've got them in now," said Todd.

"I was waiting for calls but I spoke to Dennis Wise and spoke to Billy Davies and there's no problems at all.

"It's very good news for us regardless of the cup match. It gives us that continuity, which is important."