As I’m sure many of you know, Crewe Alexandra pride themselves on their prodigious academy. Nick Powell, Ashley Westwood and Dean Ashton are just three of their more recent graduates. There is plenty of young talent in the current crop of first team players, James Jones, George Cooper and Ryan Colclough all have an exceptional shot at the top if they perform this season, as do many of the younger players currently progressing in the Alex line-up.
Crewe Alexandra survived by the skin of their teeth last term, just two points separated them and 21st placed Notts County. Steve Davis managed to cling on to his job over the summer but will need to up his game with new ideas if he is to get anther full season in the hot seat. Star Player Ryan Colclough has been heavily linked with a move away from Grestly Road, Sheffield United and Peterborough United are two of the teams said to be interested in acquiring his services. If the 20-year-old stays put, he offers a creatively from the front line that no one else can currently give. His vision and excellent reading of the game have given him maturity far beyond his years.
Last season’s top scorer Lauri Dalla Valle was a shrewd signing from the far reaches of the Belgian league, Sint Truidense to be exact. The striker repaid the faith given to him with 4 goals and an excellent run of from towards the end of the season which was the difference between playing League One and League Two football this season. He is likely to be supported by rangy target man Marcus Haber. The 6 foot 5 Canadian has the height and strength to overpower the majority of League One defenders but unless the midfield can get him isolated in an aerial dual, he may struggle with the ball at his feet.
The defensive partnership of George Ray and Harry Davis came on leaps and bounds last season with the pair conceded 75 goals which may seem a lot, but their relative inexperience compared with the defensive duos of both Crawley Town and Colchester United, who let in more goals the Alex rearguard.
The Alex backline is bound to have gained an awful lot from last seasons relegation battle and they will obviously not want to fight it out again. They have plenty of creation in midfield, the addition of Billy Bingham from Dagenham and Redbridge adds explosive energy, surrounded by the flair of George Cooper and Brad Inman they will be able to overrun teams on their own turf but will struggle away from home with less possession. In Haber and Dalle Valle they have a physically superior strikeforce to many team in the division but you do have to wonder whether they will score the goals needed to make up for the attack minded midfield.