Date:Monday January 21 2008
Crewe hope to complete the signing of Forest Green Rovers striker Stuart Fleetwood this week, Vital Crewe takes a look at his career so far.
The 21 year old started his career at Cardiff City, coming through their youth system from the age of 12. Despite coming from a rugby background, his 104 goals for Newent Youth as a schoolboy left only one route for Fleetwood to take.
At the age of just 17 he made his debut for Cardiff, coming on in the League Cup against Leyton Orient for the final 20 minutes in August 2003. He made another two late substitute appearances that season before getting his first start in 04/05. It came against Derby County in the league, which Cardiff lost 2-0.
In total, Fleetwood made 12 appearances for Cardiff before an off pitch incident called time on his Cardiff career. In October 2005 Fleetwood was involved in a car accident with three other Cardiff City players; all four had to be cut out of the wreckage. He waslater arrested for drink driving in a separate incident, given a 12 month driving ban and fined £455.
At the end of January 2006 he signed for Hereford, then a Conference side. He scored four goals in his first seven games for the Bulls, but only once in the following 13 games. He did however help Hereford to victory in the play-offs, winning promotion to the league.
Fleetwood's return to the league was not the greatest. He managed only 6 goals in 30-odd appearances that season before it was unsettled by a virus that saw Fleetwood lose over a stone in weight. His form faltered and he returned to the Conference on loan at Accrington Stanley for a month.
During his time at Hereford he managed to break into the Welsh U-21s and has so far played five games.
After his illness, Hereford failed to stick by him and released him in the summer of 2007. Being Gloucester born, he signed for Forest Green in the summer. To say he's been a success this season would be a under statement.
To date, Fleetwood has 30 goals in 33 games in all competitions, including his brace against Rotherham in the FA Cup earlier in the season, and between September and October he went on a four game run where he scored nine goals.
At 5ft 8in, Fleetwood is certainly not the target man the Alex are in need of but his pace is described as frightening and his finishing is second to none. Many 'experts' expect Fleetwood to make the step up with relative ease, putting his previous league form down to various bits of bad luck and being too young at Cardiff.
£175,000-£200,000 for a player who's publicly said he'll see out his contract at Forest Green, which expires in the summer, may be a bit over the top in terms of value but if Fleetwood can bring half his form into League One then we may well just have a bargain.
Date:Monday January 21 2008
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