James Collins says relegation strengthened Crewe Alexandra staff
Crewe Alexandra's management team have been made stronger by the "dark" times of relegation last season, says assistant manager James Collins.
The Alex finished bottom of League One, winning only seven of their 46 games.
Collins says he, head of recruitment Neil Baker and boss Steve Davis have all benefitted from the experience.
"The more time you spend together, you learn more about each other and that helps you in the difficult times," Collins, 38, told BBC Radio Stoke.
Crewe endured a wretched campaign last term, with their relegation back into League Two confirmed with a month of the season still to go.
Long-serving manager Davis, 50, was given the backing of chairman John Bowler with finances available to help build a promotion bid in 2016-17.
As the Alex prepare for that tilt, Collins is adamant the backroom staff better and wiser.
"As you can imagine, there were some dark times last season in that office," Collins said.
"You learn about each other's character and you move on and get stronger - I think that's what we've done.
"We all sit in the same office and discuss things - the team, the players, tactics or recruitment - and I think we work well together.
"Last season's gone and we start next season with all guns blazing."
Crewe have made one signing so far this summer with the return to the club of experienced striker Ryan Lowe.