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Rotherham Utd vs Crewe Alexandra

Don Valley Stadium, February 5, 3pm

IT was clear at the start of the season that Crewe needed to end two seasons of decline or face the prospect of life outside the Football League.

Turning to Dario Gradi might have seemed like opting for a safe pair of hands but some questioned whether it was a move forward or merely acceptance of fate.

The doubters have largely been silenced now the Railwaymen sit inside the top six and seem to be rebuilding their reputation as a breeding ground for the next big things.

Importantly for League Two football, they have two strikers firing on a regular basis, making up for patchy away form.

MANAGER

IT is fair to say that Dario Gradi will never leave Gresty Road.

But with his brilliant record there, boosted by their current lofty position in League Two, why would anyone want him to?

When he assumed charge 27 years ago, Crewe were perennial strugglers in the bottom tier. Since then the 69-year-old has masterminded four promotions and played a major role in turning the club into one of the most fertile farms for young talent in British football.