Posted: 22.02.21 at 13:22 by The Editor
OLI Finney's season may not be over despite the Crewe Alex midfielder breaking his leg only 20 days ago.
Crewe boss Dave Artell has raised hopes Finney may be able to make a return to action this term after a scan revealed his fracture is healing well and he is unlikely to require surgery.
The 23-year-old was the victim of a poor challenge from Shrewsbury attacker Harry Chapman during Crewe's 1-0 win over Salop at the New Meadow on February 2.
Crewe were smarting over the challenge and Chapman's punishment, which was confined to a booking, but more so the injury to their in-form midfielder, who had demonstrated his knack in front of goal, weighing in with eight goals.
Artell reported: "The break is healing as it should do and so we don't think there's a need for any op.
"Oli is going for an x-ray in two weeks. At the moment it's probably six weeks, something like that, but we'll know more in a fortnight."
A potential return for Finney in April could be a boost for a side needing to sharpen up their conversion rate inside the box. The midfielder is joint-second top scorer behind Mikael Mandron, who has been a significant presence up front for Crewe, but has not hit the back of the net since Boxing Day.
The big Frenchman missed gilt-edged chances in Saturday's reverse (1-2) at Swindon, but Artell is happy with the centre-forward's contribution.
"I though Mika played better on Saturday than he did in the previous two games," pointed out the manager. "He will score goals and he was the first to hold his hands up in the dressing room afterwards.
"But I'd rather he played badly and scored to be honest because goals change games."
Mandron and Crewe have a chance to quickly make amends for Saturday's setback, but Artell warns seventh-placed visitors Accrington Stanley will present a significant obstacle tomorrow evening (K.O 7pm).
"John Coleman (Accy boss) and Jimmy Bell are terrific at what they do and they deserve all the plaudits that come their way.
"I think people take them lightly which is wholly misguided. They play some football and play their way which is very effective. They are not a long-ball team, they can play, but they work their socks off.
"The first game (0-1) should have been a draw, but we are going to have to match their endeavours."
Meanwhile, Donervon Daniels, who returned as an unused sub at Swindon, may need 90 minutes of football before being thrust back, says Artell, after the defender missed out on such an opportunity when a weekend under-23s game was cancelled.
With Luke Offord still in the treatment room, Omar Beckles has forged a central defensive partnership with Olly Lancashire and, at Swindon, youngster Nathan Wood.
The Middlesbrough loanee says he wants to build on his Alex debut so he can feature against his parent club's north east rivals Sunderland this coming Saturday.
"It's exciting to play against the best teams in League One. And to play against Sunderland would be exciting to say the least as I'm a Boro lad, so it would be good to get one over them," said the England youth international defender.
"I've made 11 appearances (for Middlesbrough) over two years, but I just need to get experience and get to know "men's football. I feel I've got a lot more to give here at Crewe."