Crewe Alexandra: Nathan Ellington ready to pass on words of wisdom at Gresty Road
NATHAN Ellington is ready to play father figure to the young pups in Crewe's strike-force.
The 31-year-old is still waiting to make his Alex debut after staying on the bench at Colchester last weekend then seeing Tuesday's match with Sheffield United postponed because of a frozen pitch.
But he has had enough time already to cast his eye over his fellow forwards in the camp ahead of a home match against Shrewsbury Town tomorrow (3pm).
Max Clayton, aged 18, Ajay Leitch-Smith, aged 23, and Chuks Aneke, aged 19, were all still at primary school when "The Duke" was making his Football League debut for Bristol Rovers in 1999.
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Ellington, who has made 497 senior career appearances, is impressed with the amount of game time the trio already have under their belts.
He said: "Just look at Colchester last Saturday. Max played nearly 90 minutes and it is very good for him to get that at 18. That is the way it is at Crewe.
"It is immediately apparent he's got really good ability and if you keep improving you never know what level you can reach."
He added: "I am coming here with experience and hopefully I can help the younger players develop, perhaps showing them something they haven't seen before."
Ellington, who signed until the end of the season last week, has made it clear he is not just at Gresty Road to pass on his wisdom.
The former Wigan Athletic front man needs just three more goals to reach 150 in the English professional game.
And he believes everything is falling into place to clock up that landmark post haste.
"It's so good as a player to find a club that suits you," he said.
"When you have players and a manager happy to be together it's a recipe for success. A great work environment can go a long way.
"I'm thinking positively and I hope I can start scoring goals to help the team as much as possible."
Crewe's latest postponement leaves them 14th in League One, 13 points off the play-offs with 11 league games remaining, including three matches in hand on most above them.
Next up comes a third meeting of the season with 18th-placed Shrewsbury tomorrow, who have edged seven points clear of the drop zone thanks to a run of four victories in their last eight games.
Three of those wins were on their travels and manager Graham Turner hopes for more of the same against the Alex at Gresty Road.
"It might be a little bit of relief to play away because the pressure at home is just beginning to tell on the players," he said.
"We were really uptight after last Saturday's home defeat against Leyton Orient, but we have put some very good results together away from home."
Crewe got the better of Shrewsbury 2-1 in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy in October, but lost 1-0 in the league a month later.
Ex-Crewe forward Luke Rodgers is expected to be named among Town's substitutes.
Attacking midfielders Brad Inman (ankle) and Mike West (hip) are both nearing a return to fitness for Crewe.