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Page last updated at 12:40 GMT, Tuesday, 26 April 2011 13:40 UK

Powell and Clayton can make impact at Crewe - Gradi

Crewe Alexandra manager Dario Gradi
Gradi's Crewe side currently sit 13th in League Two

Crewe Alexandra manager Dario Gradi believes teenagers Nick Powell and Max Clayton can become a regular part of the first-team squad next season.

Powell, 17, and 16-year-old Clayton have both appeared as substitutes for the Alex during the Easter programme.

"I know of their ability and we've got to blood them slowly," the 69-year-old Crewe boss told BBC Radio Stoke.

"With a good rest from us and a summer under their belt, they'll get stronger and become a real threat."

Powell made his first-team debut in August and has made 19 appearances this season, 18 of them as a substitute.

Clayton, meanwhile, has appeared as a substitute in the last two matches against Morecambe and Wycombe.

Gradi continued: "Nick has been in and out all season and against Wycombe it was the most sensible that he's played.

"For Max, the nerves have gone. He's now played twice and he now knows that he's quite capable.

"His talent is obvious and everybody that's seen him develop over the years are expecting great things of him.

"That will depend, to a certain extent, on how he ends up physically, but there's nothing to suggest he won't be anything but very good physically."

Both Powell and Clayton, as well as goalkeeper Ben Garratt, will be unavailable for the final two League Two matches of the season as they are on international duty with the England Under-17 squad.

A 2-0 defeat at Wycombe on Monday ended Crewe's feint hopes of reaching the play-offs.

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see also
Wycombe 2-0 Crewe
26 Apr 11 |  League Two
Crewe 2-1 Morecambe
24 Apr 11 |  League Two
Gradi reluctant to play teenagers
29 Mar 11 |  Crewe
Powell still needs time - Gradi
03 Feb 11 |  Crewe
Gradi to protect keeper Garratt
03 Sep 10 |  Crewe
Young Crewe trio on England duty
27 Aug 10 |  Crewe
Powell not for sale, says Gradi
02 Jun 10 |  Crewe
No Crewe complaint over 'tap-up'
09 Sep 09 |  Crewe

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