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Ban leaves Alex short

Ban leaves Alex short

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Defender Matt Tootle's suspension leaves Crewe Alexandra with selection issues ahead of their weekend visit to Preston North End.

"Matt will be a loss to us because it's not a position we are overly blessed with players" - Neil Baker
The 22-year-old was dismissed late on during the midweek Johnstone's Paint Trophy victory against Doncaster Rovers and now faces an automatic one-match ban.

The Alex are already without regular right-back Kelvin Mellor due to a knee injury, which leaves Gregor Robertson as their only remaining senior full-back.

"It leaves us short in that position because Kelvin is not quite ready to come back yet," assistant manager Neil Baker conceded to This is Staffordshire. "Matt will be a loss to us because it's not a position we are overly blessed with players so we will have to have a look to see what we can do."

Harry Davis could be one option after filling the role during last season's promotion-winning campaign, although he has since been performing especially well in central defence. Teenagers Paris Bateman and Jon Guthrie may also come into consideration.

Meanwhile, manager Steve Davis is hoping that skipper Luke Murphy will recover from a groin injury in time after missing out against Doncaster. Goalkeeper Steve Phillips, Adam Dugdale and Max Clayton were all recalled for the tie while on loan Brad Inman earned himself a senior debut.

Otherwise, striker AJ Leitch-Smith is recently back training after an ankle injury but is not yet ready to return.

Preston boss Graham Westley could name an unchanged side after defeating League Two leaders Gillingham in the FA Cup last weekend. Defender Scott Laird and midfielder Keith Keane remain long-term injury victims.

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Writer:Vital Crewe
Date:Thursday December 6 2012
Time: 3:55PM

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# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Doncaster 19 12 3 4 39 14
2 Carlisle 19 10 8 1 38 14
3 Plymouth 19 12 2 5 38 8
4 Portsmouth 19 9 4 6 31 12
5 Luton 19 8 7 4 31 10
6 Yeovil 19 8 4 7 28 1
7 Wycombe 19 8 4 7 28 1
8 Blackpool 19 7 6 6 27 11
9 Barnet 19 6 9 4 27 0
10 Grimsby 19 7 5 7 26 2
11 Crewe 19 6 8 5 26 -3
12 Cambridge 19 7 4 8 25 -2
13 Mansfield 19 6 7 6 25 -4
14 Stevenage 18 7 3 8 24 -1
15 Colchester 19 6 5 8 23 1
16 Crawley 19 6 5 8 23 -11
17 Morecambe 19 7 2 10 23 -13
18 Hartlepool 19 5 7 7 22 -4
19 Notts County 19 6 4 9 22 -8
20 Accrington 19 5 6 8 21 -5
21 Exeter 19 6 2 11 20 -5
22 Leyton Orient 19 5 3 11 18 -5
23 Cheltenham 19 3 9 7 18 -8
24 Newport 18 4 5 9 17 -5
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