Football

Crewe Alexandra: Can loan recruits stop the rot?

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Tom Hitchcock is one of the loanee signings (©GettyImages)
Tom Hitchcock is one of the loanee signings (©GettyImages).

League One's 23rd-placed Crewe Alexandra made an effort to halt their deteriorating form as they secured two loan signings before the 28 November 5pm deadline. 

QPR forward Tom Hitchcock and Fulham winger Buomesca Tue Na Bangna both signed temporary deals at Gresty Road.

The two will remain at the club until January 7 on their current contracts and will be hoping to make an impact in their short stays. The two join Arsenal's Chuks Aneke, Manchester City's George Evans and Fulham's Neil Etheridge.

Englishman Hitchcock scored earlier this season for parent club QPR, after coming on as an 83rd minute substitute for Bobby Zamora he scored the only goal of the game to defeat Ipswich Town.

Hitchcock has struggled for opportunities, with just 14 first team appearances during his career on loan to Plymouth and Bristol Rovers and QPR.

Undoubtedly, the 21-year-old will be looking to push his way into Harry Redknapp's plans should he impress whilst at the South Cheshire club.

Meanwhile, "Mesca" as he is known, follows goalkeeper Neil Etheridge in his journey north from Craven Cottage. 

The Guinea-Bissau-born winger spent two years at Chelsea having moved from Sporting Lisbon, before transferring to London neighbours Fulham in 2011. 

He made several appearances for the Cottagers in pre-season and recently made his Premier League debut against his former club, earning an 18-minute run out at Stamford Bridge in September. 

Manager Steve Davis will be hoping the attack-minded forwards can help combat the club's goal drought.

Without last season's top scorer (16 in all competitions) Mathias Pogba the Alex have scored just 14 league goals in 18 games, making them the lowest scorers in the league.

Crewe's statistics make for grim reading, as their current top scorer before their home fixture against Crawley Town is Harry Davis, who is a centre-back, with just three goals in all competitions. 

Last season, loan signings had a profound impact on the club's fortunes. Lauri Dalla Valle, Brad Inman and Aneke contributed 23 goals between them last season.

Though, in Crewe's 18 league games last season they won an astonishing 14 by a single goal and the other four by a two goal margin.

In fact, in the 85 league games under Davis' tenure they have only won three goals three times, all in 2011-12. Those 3-0 wins came over Dagenham and Redbridge and Bristol Rovers twice, showing that their is either a dearth of prolific goalscorers in their senior squad or Davis' system does not utilise the strikers to their full potential. 

Brad Inman enjoyed a successful loan period last year, scoring eight goals, and made the permanent switch to Crewe this summer.

The Australian-born-Scot has struggled to find his form since, and was omitted from last week's squad that lost to arch-rivals Port Vale last weekend due to behavioural issues. Davis told Crewe Chronicle Inman and Anthony Grant had been a "disruption" because of their poor attitudes and a lack of effort.

A 25-yard stunner by George Evans put the Alex in the lead against Vale, but they surrendered the points as Jennison Myrie-Williams hit an 83rd minute winner.

Crewe also lost 2-0 to Carlisle in midweek, leaving them in the relegation zone with a disappointing 13 points from an available 54. Can Crewe's temporary signings help turn their season around before it's too late?

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Topics:
Football
Crewe Alexandra
League One
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