Gradi's clarion call to Higdon
By Adam Marshall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Dario Gradi has called on Mike Higdon to fill the shoes of Dean Ashton.
Crewe Alexandra boss Dario Gradi has called on Mike Higdon to fill the shoes of departed top scorer Dean Ashton.
The Railwaymen have failed to win in ten games and are clearly missing the man they sold to Norwich City.
As a consequence, Crewe are now only six points clear of the relegation zone and looking nervously over their shoulders ahead of a trip to Sheffield United on Tuesday.
"Of course we're going to miss good players, always, and Dean has proved himself at this level," Gradi told Sky Sports News. "But, you know, it's a chance for others like I've said.
"It's a chance for Mike Higdon tonight who hasn't started a game since Dean left so it is his opportunity to say I'm going to be as good as Dean, and there's no reason why he shouldn't be as he's got a lot of ability.
"We could buy players if we find the right ones and could afford their wages so we're in a healthy position for a club like us, financially.
"It's something to be said. I was with Lennie Lawrence yesterday and they [Cardiff] are trying to get the PFA to pay their wages so the most important thing at any football club is financial stability."
Gradi is confident Crewe will retain their Championship status despite their poor run of form.
"Of course it's a concern but we know we'll be hard to beat because we keep going all the time," he opined.
"The games we've won, we've won by a narrow margin and the games we lose have been by a narrow margin. Even on Saturday, when we lost 4-1 [to Wolves], we were only inches away from making it 3-2 and, as Glenn Hoddle said afterwards, that would have made the game very interesting.
"I would think we would need more than 50 points going into the last game but, in the end, maybe 50 would be enough.
"We want to win three more games then we'll be safe, I think.
"I don't think there are any weak teams, even Rotherham are very hard to beat, we found that, and anybody can beat anybody."
Following the tough trip to Bramall Lane, Alex entertain promotion-chasing Sunderland at the weekend.