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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 26 17 4 5 55 19
2 Plymouth 25 16 3 6 51 14
3 Carlisle 26 12 11 3 47 11
4 Portsmouth 26 13 6 7 45 14
5 Wycombe 25 12 6 7 42 6
6 Luton 25 11 8 6 41 13
7 Colchester 26 11 7 8 40 10
8 Cambridge 25 11 6 8 39 9
9 Barnet 26 10 9 7 39 0
10 Exeter 25 11 3 11 36 9
11 Grimsby 26 10 6 10 36 2
12 Blackpool 25 9 8 8 35 11
13 Crawley 25 10 5 10 35 -7
14 Mansfield 26 8 10 8 34 -3
15 Stevenage 26 10 3 13 33 -4
16 Yeovil 25 8 7 10 31 -3
17 Morecambe 25 9 4 12 31 -11
18 Crewe 26 6 10 10 28 -11
19 Hartlepool 26 6 9 11 27 -11
20 Leyton Orient 26 7 4 15 25 -11
21 Accrington 25 6 7 12 25 -11
22 Cheltenham 25 5 9 11 24 -10
23 Notts County 26 6 5 15 23 -20
24 Newport 25 4 6 15 18 -16
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