Crewe starlet signs on

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Crewe Alexandra have tied young striker Nicky Maynard down to a new deal that keeps him at the club until 2008.

Maynard only signed professional terms in the summer but a successful loan spell with Witton Albion sufficiently impressed Crewe boss Dario Gradi.

The 19-year-old scored twice during his time with the non-league outfit and has also starred for the Championship side's reserves this season.

Meanwhile, Crewe's first team squad has been hit by a one-match ban imposed on youngster Billy Jones after he picked up his fifth booking of the season against Ipswich.

However, Gradi believes the 18-year-old will welcome the break afforded by the suspension as he sits out Brighton's visit to Gresty Road on February 25.

"I thought Billy and Gary [Roberts] both looked tired in the second half on Tuesday," Gradi told the club's official website.

"They will both be glad of this break, and Billy's will of course be a bit longer because he's reached five bookings."