Rivers sore if he can't play

MARK Rivers, who has a habit of scoring against Ipswich, will lead the Crewe attack today, unless a sore back gets worse.Rivers, who went on the Blues' pre-season tour to Denmark in the summer but was not offered a contract, has banged in six goals for Alex and will partner 15-goal Dean Ashton.

By Derek Davis

MARK Rivers, who has a habit of scoring against Ipswich, will lead the Crewe attack today, unless a sore back gets worse.

Rivers, who went on the Blues' pre-season tour to Denmark in the summer but was not offered a contract, has banged in six goals for Alex and will partner 15-goal Dean Ashton. If Rivers fails to get into full flow, then Steve Jones is a handy replacement with nine goals to his name this season.

David Vaughan is fit to return to the Crewe side. The Welsh international has recovered from a calf injury, allowing the Alex to revert to a 4-4-2 formation.


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A three-pronged strike force - which included Jones - earned them their fourth win in five games against Millwall on Tuesday night, a sequence which saw Dario Gradi shortlisted for the November manager-of-the-month award.

Joe Royle pipped him for the accolade, which leaves the Ipswich boss defending the traditional curse at Gresty Road this afternoon.

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Crewe will need to check on the fitness of defender Jon Otsemobor as well as Rivers. Right-back Otsemobor came through yesterday's training session, after nursing tight hamstrings earlier in the week.

Anthony Tonkin is definitely ruled out again with a swollen foot, which paves the way for Adie Moses to remain in the side as a stop-gap left-back.

“Tonks has improved slightly, but he is unlikely to be back,” said Alex assistant manager Neil Baker. “Vaughan, though, has trained and should play. Rivo has a stiff back, so we need to see how he is.”

Crewe's stellar run has taken them to 15th place in the Championship table ahead of two home clashes.

Baker believes defensive improvements are the key to their success. He said: “Whoever has played at centre-half has done well, and Clayton Ince's return has obviously helped.”

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