OWEN DALE believes Crewe can win back-to-back promotions to the Championship.
Alex have had an impressive first half to the season in League One following their promotion last season.
They host Ipswich this weekend just four points behind the play-off spots.
And Dale, 22, who is enjoying his breakthrough season, has played a big part with his brilliant performances on the left flank.
Asked if he believes Crewe can get promoted again, he told SunSport: “Yes, definitely. At the start of the season, the manager instilled a lot of belief into us and set out his stall – saying, ‘We’re not looking to just survive in this division.’
“He thinks there’s enough talent in the team to go on another run. We’re starting to believe in that ourselves.
“Around the dressing room, there are a lot of performers and as a team we’re doing well – especially with the new lads that have joined us this season and if we keep going as we are we will definitely have a good season.”
Dale is one of the latest players to come off the club’s famed production line that produced stars such as Dean Ashton, David Platt, Rob Jones, Geoff Thomas, Craig Hignett, Danny Murphy, Robbie Savage and Neil Lennon.
And he has had to be patient – waiting for game time and being sent out on loan to play non-league with Altrincham to Witton.
That is now being rewarded with a string of fine performances – including a purple patch December where he netted four of his seven goals this season and claimed an assist, winning him the SkyBet League One player-of-the-month gong.
He admitted: “When I was sent out to places like Witton and Altrincham I didn’t understand why I was being loaned out.
“Maybe it’s part and parcel of still being young that I didn’t realise that it was to help me grow as a player, understand the men’s game.
“I wrongly assumed they didn’t want me around the first team and that I might have to start looking elsewhere fearing I was going to be realised.
“But I had a good chat with the gaffer and he explained it was to get game time in a first-team environment.
“Non-league wasn’t always the nice football we play here. A lot of it was long ball but I had to learn that and adapt quickly. It taught me a lot – much more than playing in the under-23s. I am so grateful for that experience.
“I learned how to win matches, the tactical bits and bobs as well as the physical aspect – how to use my body in certain situations.
“Also I learned what it takes to last 90 minutes when you’re playing Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday.
“The manager and his assistant Alex Morris have also taught me so much. I used to run around at 100 miles per hour and was erratic.
“But they’ve brought a calmness to my game and taught me to trust my technique and it’s all coming together now.”
Dale picks out his overhead kick at Burton as his favourite goal to date and admits his confidence in front of goal has been transformed.
He said: “I can’t lie. I did enjoy the overhead kick, they don’t come around very often.
“But I scored a great one against Plymouth too where I ran in behind and got to the byline, cut back inside and took a shot on my left foot, it took a deflection but went in.
“I enjoy doing that sort of thing – getting behind the defence.
“Goals always give you confidence. The last few months I have been scoring consistently and just been believing in scoring in front of goal and taking chances.
“Now I hope to carry that forward into the second half of the season and maybe we can have another successful year.”
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