Crewe Alexandra: Learning curve helps strike star Max Clayton
MAX Clayton says he has been studying League One from the sidelines as he looks to continue his rediscovered scoring touch.
The 18-year-old has been taken out of Crewe's front line since suffering niggling injuries and a loss of form in October – but that time has not been wasted, he stresses.
"I want to play in every game, but it's not always a bad thing, in the long run, to find yourself out of the team," he said.
"You can learn quite a lot when you're not playing. You don't have to take it as a negative, it can be a learning curve.
"When you go back in you can use the things that you've learnt, and I think I showed that the other night (scoring against Bradford City)."
Clayton shone in that cameo against Bradford which saw his side into the Johnstone's Paint Trophy northern final with a 4-1 win.
He said: "This is what I've always wanted to do, play and score goals for the club I supported as a boy. Climbing up the league is the priority, but if we can get to Wembley too that would be brilliant."
Meanwhile, Neil Baker has warned the fringe players who crashed out of the Cheshire Senior Cup 1-0 to Northwich Victoria that their days at Crewe could be numbered.
Alex's assistant manager questioned the passion of the youngsters, many of whom are battling for a new contract.
Baker said: "This won't make us rethink because we have already made our minds up about most of them.
"It's not a technical thing or a physical thing, most of them spend longer on the weights than with a ball. That can leave only one thing and it's mental. A lot have shown this season that mentally they are not up to playing professional football."
Ajay Leitch-Smith, Ollie Turton and Mike West were among the players who featured from the start on Tuesday night.
It is the second season running that Crewe have been sent out of the competition by Northwich, with a 2-1 loss in November 2011 proving the final straw for many players.
Alan Martin, Harry Davis and Kelvin Mellor have since established themselves as first-teamers but Antoni Sarcevic, Caspar Hughes, Danny Shelley, Mike Koral and Jordan Connerton were shown the door.