Crewe Alexandra: Steve Davis ponders move for old boy Rob Hulse
ROB Hulse could be lined up for a shock return to Crewe Alexandra.
The 32-year-old striker has been left out of Queens Park Rangers' 25-man squad for the Premier League and is available for a loan transfer to a Football League club.
Crewe's League One rivals Brentford have already been linked with a bid to take him across London.
But Alex manager Steve Davis admitted he may try to tempt the former Gresty Road favourite back to South Cheshire, particularly after losing loanee Harry Bunn with a serious knee injury.
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Davis said: "It's something I'd possibly consider. I know Rob and I know he's a Wistaston lad as well. He's a quality player who has done very well for Crewe in the past.
"I know that sometimes it's not good bringing ex-players back as they don't always produce what they did when they were initially here, and he's not played much football lately either.
"But certainly in the position we are in he would be a decent acquisition to the squad I'm sure.
"Brentford's wage budget would be a lot higher than ours, so if it was to going to happen we'd have to do something on the wages front."
Hulse was nine years old when he joined Crewe, later helping the club beat Manchester City and Spurs on their way to the FA Youth Cup quarter-finals in the 1997-98 season.
The former pupil of St Thomas More Catholic High School in Crewe made 131 senior appearances for the Railwaymen, scoring 51 goals.
He was never more prolific than in the 2002-03 season, netting 27 goals in 42 games playing alongside Dean Ashton and Steve Jones as the Alex won promotion from what is now League One.
At the end of that campaign, he signed for West Bromwich Albion for £750,000, moving to Leeds for £1.1m in 2005, Sheffield United for £2.2m a year later and then Derby for £1.75m in 2008.
He arrived at QPR on a free transfer in the summer of 2010, but only started one game last season, a 2-2 draw with Aston Villa in February, falling behind Andrew Johnson, Bobby Zamora and Djibril Cisse in the pecking order.
Brentford boss Uwe Rosler inquired about taking Hulse in March, but yesterday distanced himself from a new move for the target man having already brought in Charlton's Paul Hayes.
Bunn suffered extensive damage to the lateral ligaments in his right knee when he fell awkwardly during Crewe's 0-0 draw with Tranmere Rovers on Saturday.
The 19-year-old, who was due to be on loan from Man City until January, is expected to be out for the rest of the season.