CREWE boss David Artell has a degree in forensic biology and also runs his own tax consultancy company, so you’d expect their homework on Wanderers to be thorough.

While there is no hiding the fact the Cheshire club’s reputation has taken a battering during the Barry Bennell scandal, judged purely on its football merits, the Railwaymen continue to punch well above their weight.

Promotion was achieved last season with a team averaging just over 23 years of age and though Artell has sought some experience in League One, with former Bolton midfielder Luke Murphy among his summer recruits, their academy continues to produce saleable assets.

It took Crewe four years of establishing their younger players in League Two before they made a return to the third tier and Artell – still one of the league’s youngest managers despite being in the top 10-longest serving – has done so with a brand of attacking, possession-based football.

Pre-season was busy. Crewe played no fewer than 12 games, including a 3-0 win at Bolton.

Ex-Accrington Stanley man Offrande Zanzala and the burly Mikael Mandron have been recruited to boost the attack, while Omar Beckles and Donveron Daniels also add some muscle to the back line.

Only Mandron was considered ready to play at the weekend at Crewe lost to Lincoln – and the club is reporting that as many as nine first team regulars could be missing for tonight’s game.

Will Jaaskelainen – son of Jussi, and former Bolton academy graduate – is on international duty with Finland. But it will be good to see Crewe’s keeper coach, Fred Barber, who was instrumental in making Jaaskelainen Snr into one of the Premier League top’s stoppers in his day.

Artell has a job on his hands solving how to keep Crewe in League One, with finance still as tight as ever, but their squad looked sharp in the second half of their recent friendly at the UniBol, so don’t bet against them.

The Bolton News:

Danger man – Charlie Kirk caused problems in the pre-season friendly and likes to break forward from midfield. A product of that famed youth academy, the 22-year-old might just get back-to-back starts after featuring against Lincoln.

Last time they met – The two sides last met competitively in the League Cup at Gresty Road in August 2017. Derik Osede and Adam Armstrong scored the Bolton goals in a 2-1 victory.

Stat of the day – Crewe keeper Will Jaaskelainen was born a fortnight before his dad, Jussi, made his Bolton debut in a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace. Oddly, all four goal-scorers on the day had Bolton connections: Sasa Curcic and Matt Jansen for Palace, and Arnar Gunlaugsson and Dean Holdsworth for the Whites.