Crewe Alexandra: Abdul Osman on the verge of making return for FA cup clash with Wycombe Wanderers
ABDUL Osman could hand Steve Davis's threadbare squad a welcome boost with a return to action when Crewe enter the FA Cup this weekend.
Osman has been plagued by an injured ankle for a month and although he played a full part in a 2-2 draw at Walsall earlier this month he limped out of a 2-1 win over Swindon last week.
Rookie Ollie Turton has impressed stepping into the fold in central midfield in the 25-year-old's absence with loanee Andy Bond (groin) also on the sidelines.
Bond's temporary switch from Colchester has now ended and manager Davis says he will review his fitness before deciding if he wants to make any further deal.
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Davis is happy Osman will give him a choice to make over selection when Wycombe Wanderers visit Gresty Road in the FA Cup first round on Saturday.
Davis said: "Abdul got another kick on his ankle against Swindon and it forced him off.
"We are hopeful that he will be okay for this weekend. He has made strides and could be back in contention."
The fitness of Ajay Leitch-Smith (foot) is also improving, but the striker is unlikely to be available until towards the end of November.
His injury and a lack of goals all round of late is expected to force Crewe into the loan market over the next few days.
Davis said: "Ajay is making progress. He has been working on the bike and doing some cardio that way, but he hasn't been able to run on it yet.
"He is getting there, but it will still be a few weeks with him."
Better news for Crewe fans will come from 70 miles north of Gresty Road.
Burnley are set to name Sean Dyche as their new manager today, putting an end to speculation Davis could be persuaded to join the club where he made 147 appearances as a player.
The 47-year-old had dropped from 40-1 outsider to 8-1 bookies favourite at one point over the last fortnight and he featured in a 10-name shortlist put together by the Burnley board.
But it is now former Watford man Dyche who will be heading to Turf Moor with the former Nottingham Forest midfielder Ian Woan acting as his assistant.