Duo Strike Out

Greg Pearson is being backed to carry on his learning curve at Lincoln, to whom he completed a month loan on Friday, while Youssef Sofiane has gone Dutch in a bid for first team football.

"He has done well in pre-season training, all that has been asked of him," says Peter Grant of the young striker.

"The boy has a great spirit and it would be no surprise if he scores goals for Lincoln.

"He needs to play first team football because the last time he went on loan, to Barnet, he didn't play as much as we would have loved him to play and he came back a bit disheartened.

"Hopefully he bangs a few goals in and will come back as an asset that can be good enough for the first team or has shown himself worthy of other clubs being interested in him.

"That is the way they have got to do it; I always say to players on loan it is about getting experience but also putting a marker on it."

Peter should know: He was at Bournemouth when Jermain Defoe established his reputation on loan from West Ham.

"When Jermain went to Bournemouth the world became his oyster.

"Hardly anyone knew him before he came - but by the time he left everyone knew him."

Another striker that has left for the time being, on trial rather than on loan, is Youssef Sofiane.

He has gone to try and impress RBC Roosendaal in Holland and Peter says:

"He has got to play; it is very difficult because he is not going to be involved in the first team squad at this moment in time, and it is a total waste of time for him to be sitting doing nothing.

"He missed a year last year with West Ham and we are not going to allow that to happen again, because he needs to play.

"If he gets that opportunity to play hopefully it can benefit both parties, either for Youssef to move on or to come back here challenging for a first team position.

"You never give up hope of that opportunity; I think players have to sell themselves to the team they are going to and put their face out there to let other teams see him, and this gives him the chance to do that."

Speaking ahead of the Crewe match, Peter adds:

"The most important thing is to win the game; Crewe are a very good footballing side and if you let them play they will rip you apart.

"They proved that when they came to our place last season and we were 4-0 up; all of a sudden they scored two goals and could have gone to equalise because they created a few chances.

"There is no doubt they have fantastic quality for this division; they have some good players and are coached in the right way.

"The one thing I have noticed this season is that they have added a bit of steel to it and are making it difficult for the opposition so they are combining both very well.

"It will be a very stern test for us - and we have to play very well to win, that's for sure."