Crewe Alex: Cumbria or Corfu? It's no contest, says Osman
ABDUL Osman says cold nights in Cumbria are more up his street than basking in the Corfu sun.
The 25-year-old midfielder is making the most of his second chance at Crewe, forming an eye-catching central partnership with Luke Murphy in the club's League One return.
The duo are set to continue at the heart of the Alex's line-up for tonight's trip to Carlisle (7.45pm)... and Osman says he wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
After initially being rejected by Crewe during his Maidenhead United days, Osman ended up further north at Gretna.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
Twelve months, 25 defeats and one financial meltdown later, Osman was back heading into the English league with Northampton Town.
And in a jet-set career, he also managed to fit in a year with Kerkyra, in the Greek Superleague, before heading back to South Cheshire this summer.
He'll be 1,500 miles away from his Mediterranean sojourn, but believes tonight's challenge is more to his liking.
He said: "The tempo is much faster in League One than in Greece. Teams are up and at you and I like that style of play, I'm glad to be back.
"I had played at this level before with Northampton, so in that respect it didn't take much getting used to.
"It was much more unusual going the other way, getting used to slow games where it's like a game of chess, waiting for an opportunity rather than trying to create one."
While the Osman/Murphy axis has been an integral part of Crewe's early-season plans, boss Steve Davis has needed to chop and change.
In the past few weeks, Davis has lost Mathias Pogba (knee) and loanees Harry Bunn (cruciate knee ligaments) and Chuks Aneke (suspension).
The lack of senior wide men should see Matt Tootle, a regular in defence for much of his 119-game Alex career, start this evening on the right of midfield.
The mini-crisis also led to the promotion of youth prospect Ryan Colclough to the bench against Stevenage on Saturday, alongside another rookie, winger Brendan Daniels.
Both youngsters starred in Burslem-based Haywood Engineering College's run to the final of the Sentinel Shield in 2010, eventually losing 3-1 to Alleyne's, from Stone.
Carlisle are struggling for numbers in midfield, with James Berrett suspended after picking up five bookings and Liam Noble sitting out the third of a three-match ban.
Manager Greg Abbott is expected to switch left-back Chris Chantler, an ex-Manchester City youth player, into the middle of a four-man midfield alongside captain Paul Thirlwell.
Italian Alessio Bugno, the son of two-time World Champion cyclist and Tour de France runner-up Gianni Bugno, will fill in at full-back having signed from Monza this summer.
Chantler, aged 21, said: "I've never played Crewe at senior level, but every time I played them with Manchester City's academy level they passed the ball around.
"At that level we were probably the best passing team in the country, but they still tried to pass it too. It comes from Dario Gradi – he has a philosophy that goes up to the first team.
"We've got a big pitch and they might enjoy that. But with the Jake Jervis up top and Danny Cadamarteri, we could bully their centre-halves.
"If we produce that sort of performance I can see us winning the game."