Crewe Alexandra: Adam Dugdale hoping patient approach reaps rewards in the long term
FORGOTTEN man Adam Dugdale admits all he can do is bide his time for another chance in the central defence.
The 25-year-old was a key cog in Crewe’s League Two promotion campaign last season.
However, he was dropped from the line-up after the first four games of this campaign, reduced to four substitute cameos since the Alex were thrashed 5-1 at Brentford in August.
Stuck down the pecking order behind Mark Ellis and Harry Davis, Dugdale is trying to fight his way back into Steve Davis’s plans by impressing in training and under-21 matches.
He said: “It’s been frustrating. I don’t like sitting on the bench watching the team, I like to be a part of the game.
“I played enough last year, but this year has not been going to plan on a personal level.
“The manager has told me that through form or injury I will get another chance in the side and I’ve just got to be ready to grab that chance with both hands.
“I worked hard to help get the club up to this level, but it doesn’t feel like I’ve had a proper taste of it yet.”
In most other teams in League One, a third-choice centre-back might expect to be handed a start sooner or later because one of his rivals for a place is suspended.
But in Crewe’s case, Ellis and Davis have only received two bookings between them this season, both for Ellis – Davis has gone 24 games without a caution.
The Alex have taken up their usual place at the top of the fair play league having committed only 146 fouls and picked up just 14 yellow cards and one red in all over 19 matches.
It does not count for much if results are not going the right way, but Dugdale has been generally impressed with the team’s transition to the third tier.
He said: “I think we’ve held our own and with another couple of results, which perhaps should have gone our way, we could be even higher up the table.
“The lads are doing well playing against some good sides.
“I always thought we would be all right in this division and we’ve had some good matches, I just wish I was playing a bigger part.
“Everyone is enjoying it, I wouldn’t mind getting on the pitch to enjoy it as well.”
Dugdale is the oldest academy graduate at the club following the summer departure of Lee Bell, although he and Bell both had spells away from the Alex.
Now he is witnessing a new generation of talent coming through, although a little too close at hand some times.
“I’m playing in the under-21 games, but they are a lot different to the real thing,” he said.
“I want to show the manager I’m eager to play but it’s no substitute from playing in big games in front of big crowds.
“It’s game time and they are not doing me any harm, but I can’t wait to be back in the first team.”
Crewe find themselves in a similar position in League One as they were in League Two 12 months ago.
They currently sit 14th with 24 points, as opposed to 15th with 25 points after the opening 19 games last season.
It goes without saying that Dugdale would not mind a repeat of the second half of the previous campaign, bedding into the top half rather than the bottom.
He said: “We are not even half way through the season yet so we are not thinking too much about our league position.
“We just want to pick up as many points as we can.
“If we keep doing what we have been doing I don’t think we will get dragged into any relegation battle.
“I want us to push on after Christmas, just like last year, and try to finish as high up the table as we can.”