Crewe Alexandra: Steve Davis in hunt for striker after Harry Bunn injury blow
reports from Gresty Road
CREWE manager Steve Davis is preparing to raid the loan market for striking reinforcements after Harry Bunn left the Gresty Road pitch on a stretcher.
The young Manchester City loanee collapsed in agony clutching his knee on the hour, and it looks likely he will be joining fellow forward Mathias Pogba on the treatment table.
Their absence places a heavy scoring burden on youngsters Max Clayton and Ajay Leitch-Smith, who failed to make an impact on unbeaten Tranmere's watertight backline on Saturday.
Davis said: "Harry twisted funny on his knee, but we won't know how bad it is until we have looked at it properly.
"If it is an injury that is going to keep him out for several months then he will go back to Man City and I will have to look into the loan market to bring someone else in.
"Pogba's still a few weeks away, so we need to look to bolster the forward line.
"We've got good clean sheets now against two decent teams and I'm delighted with that. We can build on that, but we need to make sure are more of a threat at the other end.
"I always think our front four can produce something, but they didn't show enough and we didn't create enough opportunities to win the game.
"The important thing was that because our front four didn't perform as well as they have done we didn't lose the game."
Tranmere boss Ronnie Moore inevitably put the curse on this fixture when he predicted a high-scoring game between two ball-playing teams.
Instead, it turned out to be the first time the Alex have been involved in a scoreless draw in 58 games.
And little wonder considering Moore ensured his full-backs rarely ventured forward while the Alex midfield left their two young strikers isolated for much of the game.
Clear-cut chances were at a premium and Rovers had one of the best after just three minutes, but Jake Cassidy volleyed wide from a Abdulai Bell-Baggie cross.
Crewe responded instantly when Leitch-Smith combined well with Clayton for the latter to fire off a snapshot which was deflected wide at the last minute by Ash Taylor.
Andy Robinson was inches away from finding the net for the visitors with a well-struck free-kick before Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro failed to connect with Cassidy's low centre.
The Alex had a handful of glimpses of goal, but Harry Davis headed over and Clayton ballooned a long-range effort high and wide.
Bunn produced the moment of class the game had been crying out for when he spun his marker and the goal opened up in front of him.
But just as he was about to pull the trigger, Ben Gibson produced a vital block to keep the scores level going into the break.
After the restart, Gregor Robertson saw a tame free-kick saved by former Alex keeper Owain Fon Williams as the Alex started to push numbers forward.
But Crewe's attacking threat was dealt a blow on the hour. Bunn chased down a long ball, but fell awkwardly as he challenged Fon Williams and instantly waved to the bench for assistance. The winger's face suggested he may face a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Bunn was replaced by Chuks Aneke, who signed a one-month loan deal from Arsenal on Friday.
But it was Crewe keeper Alan Martin who was soon in the thick of the action, diving low to prevent Gibson turning Robinson's corner in at the near post and then using his feet to keep out Akpa Akpro's low drive.
Matt Tootle almost won it for Crewe, but he couldn't connect with Brendon Daniels' cross from six yards out, while Akpa Akpro headed straight at Martin at the death.
Moore said: "We didn't do enough to win it. They are a good attacking side so it was nice to get a clean sheet.
"I can't ask more from out lads who gave it their all on a red hot day.
"It's a point and we are on the board and we are still up there at the right end of the table.
"We thought there was going to be plenty of chances and I probably cursed it by thinking that.
"I don't think they created too many chances and neither keeper has had many saves to make.
"There are no easy games in this league and we are still unbeaten and now we have two games at home so I am a happy man."
CREWE face a trip to League One rivals Shrewsbury Town in the second round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy. The tie will be played in the week beginning October 8.