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Page last updated at 12:15 GMT, Sunday, 8 August 2010 13:15 UK

Crewe Alexandra's Matt Tootle is 'back to best'

Matt Tootle
Tootle is aiming to rediscover his best form

Crewe Alexandra full-back Matt Tootle believes he is back to his best form after a below par pre-season.

Tootle, 19, is into his second full season in League Two for the Alex after breaking into the side last term.

He told BBC Radio Stoke: "I know I had a bad few weeks but the manager has spoken to me and I was pleased with my game against Hereford on Saturday."

Tootle is now playing at right-back after John Brayford signed for Derby County in the summer.

The teenager made 27 appearances for Crewe last season and was rewarded by signing a new and improved three-year contract during the close season.

With the departure of Brayford, the Alex have no cover at full-back and they have taken precautions by experimenting with Danny Shelley and Mat Mitchel-King at right-back during the pre-season games.

What can Crewe achieve this season?

Boss Dario Gradi said: "Matt is having a bit of a shaky time and he has to adjust from changing position but he played sensibly against Hereford.

"He endured a frustrating end to last season (at left-back), but he has a good temperament, and there is no point bringing in a full-back just to sit on the bench."

Tootle is expected to keep his place for the Carling Cup tie at home to Derby County on Tuesday when five former Crewe players are due to return to their old club.

Rams quintet Robbie Savage, Rob Hulse, Luke Varney, James Bailey and Brayford made a total of 362 appearances during their time with the Railwaymen.

There is full commentary on the game on BBC Radio Stoke on 1503 MW and DAB digital radio.

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