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In a month which has seen more outgoings than incomings, Crewe Alexandra’s squad is looking pretty healthy, but there’s still room for improvement as the clock ticks down to tonight’s 11pm transfer deadline.
With Brad Walker signing permanently for Shrewbury Town, Michael Raynes having left on loan for Hartlepool and Josh Lundstram, Lewis Reilly, Billy Sass-Davies and Will Jaaskelainen all out sampling non-league football, Crewe have shipped out six players in January, as well as Kevin O’Connor and Corey Whelan returning to their parent clubs, following the expiry of their loan spells.
Defensive Re-Enforcements Are In The Building
The club have moved to bring Jamie Sterry back from Newcastle United, where he’s been in and around the first team picture all season, to provide much needed cover and competition for Perry Ng at right-back. Not to mention yesterday’s addition of Motherwell left-back, Aaron Taylor-Sinclair, to offer a different option to the ever-consistent Harry Pickering at left-back.
In essence, that replaces the two loanees that David Artell sent back and hopefully, they’ll prove to be even better additions to the team, only time will tell on that front though. I always quite liked Corey Whelan but I can’t argue with bringing in a player of Sterry’s calibre instead, for me, he’s a more than comfortable League One defender, so to get him again in League Two, when he’s played cup games for Newcastle and spent a lot of time on the bench in the Premier League this season is a bit of a feather in the cap for Big Dave.
As for Taylor-Sinclair, like most Crewe fans, I know very little about him! He’s had spells at Doncaster Rovers and Plymouth Argyle most recently in the EFL, playing over 70 matches combined for both clubs. Motherwell manager, Stephen Robinson, was complimentary about the defender, saying there was ‘no questioning his ability’ and that injuries had blighted his time at Fir Park.
The important thing about Taylor-Sinclair’s signing is that with the injury to James Jones, if he proves a good option at left-back, it will free up Harry Pickering to play in his preferred central midfield role should The Railwaymen need him to. It’s a similar situation with Jamie Sterry and Perry Ng, if Ng is needed at centre-half or further up the pitch, this situation can now be conducted with confidence, knowing that Sterry is more than good enough to deputise at full-back.
But What Do The Railwaymen Still Need?
Since before the start of the season, I’ve been crying out for a pacey winger and I still haven’t changed my mind despite the promise shown by young Owen Dale. As was evident against Newport County at home recently, Dale’s direct running at defenders caused numerous problems and gave Crewe the opportunities to get back in the game, his endeavour for the winning goal was also commendable. He’s yet to start a game this season though and it’s one area of the pitch where there aren’t a lot of options or flexibility.
If The Alex can bring in somebody on loan from a Premier League or Championship club with raw pace, in a similar mould to Alex Kiwomya, I’d be delighted. They don’t even have to be that level of polished, just somebody who can come in and frighten the life out of defenders with electrifying speed, to give the team an extra dimension in the final third would be perfect. I love Charlie Kirk but sometimes having someone who likes to beat their man more often, instead of passing backwards and isn’t afraid of being kicked off the park would be beneficial, especially when behind or chasing a winner.
So far in League Two this season, Charlie Kirk has scored 7 goals, Chris Porter and Jordan Bowery have 6 apiece and Shaun Miller and Alex Nicholls both have 2 each. For me, if it’s possible, I’d love to see another striker enter the building today.
I’m not expecting someone of the level of Nicky Ajose, who recently signed on loan for Mansfield but with the wage budget boosted with the departures of Raynes and Walker in particular, there has to be some wriggle room for a forward player with a knack for snatching a goal. If Crewe are serious about chasing the play-offs, the goals for column needs to start rocketing up and another forward amongst the ranks could be just the ticket in a team that doesn’t struggle to create opportunities.
Alternatively, there’s nothing to say that the manager can’t reinvigorate forgotten man, Shaun Miller. He’s exactly the sort of signing that The Alex need and we have him in our ranks, if he gets a goal or two and his confidence returns, don’t bet against him entering a timely purple patch and firing the Railwaymen up the league!
Are Crewe Likely to Lose Any Players Today?
Now I don’t profess to be massively ‘in the know’ about events going on at The Alexandra Stadium but I haven’t heard even a whisper this January about any players leaving the club. I’m sure many are being watched, particularly given the team’s recent form but this isn’t an area that should be a problem for Alex fans in this transfer window.
Ben Garratt and George Ray are both out of contract at the end of the season and so if bids were lodged they’d have to be seriously considered but form players Perry Ng and Charlie Kirk are on long-term deals and therefore unlikely to leave unless offers came in which were too good to turn down for the club and player.
Overall, if Dave Artell can manage to bring in one or even two more attacking players today, I’d be absolutely delighted. That, coupled with not losing anyone would represent a decent transfer window and strengthen a team already in form heading into the business end of the season. But this is Crewe Alexandra after all, so I’ll expect some daft rumours, twists and turns and probably some ‘almost’ done deals too! Let’s just hope we don’t sign a new striker only to realise that he isn’t actually eligible to play for us this year!