Gradi 'Crewe Miss Ashton'
Dario Gradi has admitted that Crewe have missed Dean Ashton and have been unable to replace him.
The 22 year old striker, who moved to Norwich in a £3 million transfer, returns to Crewe today.
Gradi said: 'The boys know him and that's not the same as stopping him scoring. We've missed his goals without a doubt. He was a match-winner and we haven't got a match-winner at the moment unless Jonah is on form and he's had a patchy season so far. It's that one guy that goes on the pitch who you think can win the game for you. Dean's one of those guys that it's always possible he'll score if he's not playing well but we'll have to keep him out.'
And Crewe assistant manager Neil Baker agrees and also tips Ashton for a swift return to the Premiership - albeit not necessarily with Norwich who are languishing in 18th in the Championship.
Baker said: 'He decided to stay (at Norwich following their relegation), which we thought he would, because he's a very loyal lad and Norwich were one of the few clubs that wanted to give him the chance to play in the Premiership. He wanted to repay that and get them back up. He's an ambitious lad and if that doesn't happen, he'll want to play at as high a level as possible. I'm sure, come the end of the season, if Norwich haven't gone up, there will be more clubs and better clubs after him than when he moved on before.'
Ashton has been linked to Aston Villa, Manchester City and Everton.
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