Crewe Alexandra: Matt Tootle looks to secure wing role
APPRENTICE wing wizard Matt Tootle believes he must become more selfish to excel in his attacking role.
The 22-year-old Crewe favourite admits he has shown defensive traits ever since he started kicking a ball around Widnes as a little boy.
But he says he has always been eager to try his luck further upfield, where he believes he has the ability on and off the ball to thrive ... if given time to grow into the role.
He is expected to start on the right of midfield against Leyton Orient at Gresty Road tomorrow (3pm), having impressed in the 0-0 draw at Carlisle on Tuesday.
He said: "I would like to ask fans to be patient. I've played full-back all my life and at the moment I know I'm not selfish enough when I'm on the wing.
"I've never been that way. Even when I was five or six I wanted to set someone else up than score myself.
"I could score goals if I have opportunities. I'm bigging myself up, but I have good movement and that's important. I just need to release the shackles and shoot more.
"I was glad I got a chance in this position in the play-offs last year because I thought I could do it. I have to prove now that I can on a regular basis."
Tootle, main picture, had seemed certain to be a first-team regular for the promoted Alex until he suffered a groin injury in the summer which derailed his pre-season plans.
He has needed to be patient after returning to fitness, with Gregor Robertson, Harry Davis and then Kelvin Mellor holding down the full-back berths.
His call has come further forward after injuries to Mathias Pogba (knee) and loanee Harry Bunn (knee) and the suspension of another loan signing Chuks Aneke.
"There are five or six positions I can play and I will give 100 per cent wherever I'm picked," said Tootle.
"To be honest I don't mind where I play as long as I get to run out on the pitch.
"It's nice to get my face back in. It's been a tough couple of months, and I had a few down moments and fall-outs with the physio.
"But the manager (Steve Davis) has shown faith in me and I want to repay him with my performances."
In-form Orient are expected to name the same team which thumped Yeovil 4-1 on Tuesday, which means a start for Stoke City's Ryan Brunt, aged 19, up front.
The hard-working loanee, who joined Stoke from Bristol City in 2010, has scored in his last two appearances and forged a useful partnership with Kevin Lisbie, aged 33.
The front duo lead the East London side's aerial threat, which is enhanced with long throws from former Huddersfield Town centre-half Nathan Clarke.
Clarke, while not possessing the flat delivery and speed of a Rory Delap pearler, can land his deliveries at the back post and certainly created havoc for Yeovil.
Ben Chorley's goal, aided by flimsy defending, came from that source and a Sam Foley own goal was harshly chalked off when another Clarke throw caused chaos.
Brunt's strike came from Lee Cook's deep cross, Jimmy Smith's from a corner and Lisbie's was route one, with keeper Ryan Allsopp's big boot flicked on by Brunt to tuck home.
Lisbie had been under the weather during that game, but ex-QPR midfielder Martin Rowlands, who had been ruled out with flu, should be back to make the bench tomorrow.
Former Port Vale man Anthony Griffith, pictured below, will line up in central midfield and one-time Crewe loanee Michael Symes (hamstring) could be fit to be named as a substitute.
Aside from the Yeovil game, the O's have been struggling to find the net, only scoring three goals in five league games.
No wonder then that assistant manager Kevin Nugent was keen to emphasise the need for his side to keep it tight at the back ahead of their trip to South Cheshire.
He said: "Tuesday's win was a good scoreline and a very good performance against a very good side.
"We did have a few chances, but as much as the chances we had, our defensive displays are good at the moment and that gives the platform the strikers need."