Crewe paying out to survive

THE times they are a changing at Crewe Alexandra. Like Colchester United in League One, the Alex have been refreshingly old-fashioned in some of their football principals and have been staunchly opposed to paying agents.

By Derek Davis

THE times they are a changing at Crewe Alexandra.

Like Colchester United in League One, the Alex have been refreshingly old-fashioned in some of their football principals and have been staunchly opposed to paying agents.

But that all changed last week when they splashed out £5,000 to ensure the deal to secure Algerian Madjid Bougherra until the end of the season from French Second Division club FC Gueugnon was wrapped up.


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The unique agent is Chares Collymore, who introduced the two parties and paid for the player's flight and hotel so he could trial with the Cheshire club and so satisfied Crewe he was worth his fee.

The new approach by Crewe chairman John Bowler may have something to do with the club's announcement that they were up for sale, as they looked for major investment to take the Railwaymen forward.

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Bougherra is expected to be on the bench tonight for Town's visit as Crewe look to build on their draw with Wolves. They will also be hoping their hopes of survival will be bolstered by the return of skipper Kenny Lunt.

The 26-year-old is all set to take up his role in central midfield after returning from suspension and if Crewe are to pull off another Harry Houdini-type escape from the doldrums of the bottom of the Championship, then Lunt is more than capable of inspiring them.

Crewe boss Dario Gradi said: “It is a big boost to have Kenny back as he is a great asset to the side and he is our main player from the set-pieces and is a threat from them.

“He may only be 26, but he has a great deal of experience on his side and that is what we are going to need against Ipswich.

“He and Billy Jones are important players for us, but we should not be looking at them to go and win matches by themselves.

“The lads put in a great performance against Wolves at the weekend and that is what we need to see from now on.

“The spirit in the camp is still high about avoiding the drop and we will need a good performance tonight to keep that going.”

Crewe certainly are going to need to be on top of their game if they are to try and get something out of the match.

Ipswich are one of the form teams of the moment having not lost in the league for seven games.

This run has seen them push up to 10th in the table and Gradi is fully aware of the threat that they pose, but knows that Crewe can give them a game.

He said: “Ipswich are doing very well at the moment and other than Reading are the form side in the Division.

“They have managed to turn things around since Christmas and have a good squad full of players and are particularly strong in midfield.

“It is going to be a crucial part of the game and if we can get the better of them there then we stand a chance of getting a result.”

And Gradi knows that Crewe are more than capable of putting Ipswich on the back foot having seen it in the side's meeting earlier this season.

David Vaughan gave the Railwaymen a first half lead, but second half strikes from Darren Currie and Nicky Foster ensured that Crewe came away from Portman Road with nothing.

Gradi said: “That was probably the best 45 minutes we have played all season and should have come in at the break at least three goals up.”

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