Gradi welcomes change at Crewe fine with Gradi

That was the weekend that was
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The Independent Online
Still riding high in the Second Division after their win at Burnley, Crewe may never have a better chance to shed their lower-division status for the first time. And yet, for a manager so close to achieving club history, Dario Gradi appears less-than-reluctant to let his best players go.

The Crewe manager - responsible for bringing David Platt and Rob Jones to the attention of a wider world - hardly opens his mouth these days without mentioning how good the likes of Neil Lennon, Gareth Whalley and 18-year-old Danny Murphy might become on a higher stage.

"If no one comes to buy them, that's brilliant," Gradi says. "I'm quite happy to keep hold of them."

"But," he adds, significantly, "I don't think some managers know what they are looking at half the time. We had one from a Premier League club up to watch Neil the other week and he'd gone by half-time. I tell anyone who asks me that he is good enough to play in the Premier League. Gareth Whalley could, too. We wouldn't stand in their way."

A case of post-Bosman panic, perhaps? Lennon, out of contract in the summer, has yet to sign a new one and although there has been talk of Coventry bidding pounds 1.5m the only offer so far has been pounds 400,000 from Reading.

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