Wed, Sep

Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Clayton Ince admitted that his future might lie outside mid-table English League Championship team Crewe Alexandra, despite his solid form for the Wales-based club.

Ince has barely six months left on his contract and can officially talk to prospective employers from this weekend with Crewe yet to offer him a new deal.

If the situation remains unchanged, the 32-year-old Ince will be a free agent and effectively unemployed by June.

The former Defence Force custodian is confident that the quality of his performances will not be ignored, though.

"With my performances and hard work, I am sure I will get a club somewhere," Ince told the Trinidad Express. "I will leave that up to my agent (Mike Berry). It is just up to me to stay injury free and, once I keep playing like I am right now, I am sure there will be another club in for me."

Last Tuesday afternoon, he left his calling card at Queen's Park Rangers where Crewe held on for a 2-1 win to leapfrog into tenth position.

The Trinidadian has been instrumental to Crewe's good fortune.

After a poor start, Crewe manager Dario Gradi reinstated Ince between the uprights last month and his team have lost just one match since from ten outings to shoot up the table.

Before yesterday's game, the "Railwaymen" were just six points behind the Play Off contenders for the English Premiership, although Ince revealed that the club is not dreaming of a place in the top flight just yet.

"We don't think we have a realistic chance of getting in the Premiership this season," he said. "We are not looking that far. We just want to keep improving ourselves and just win as many games as we can."

Crewe are more famed for developing players than winning trophies-after churning out stars like David Platt, Danny Murphy and Robbie Savage-and there is growing speculation that 21-year-old star striker Dean Ashton will be poached by a Premiership outfit in the January transfer window.

Ince wishes him well if he does go.

"It will be nice for Ashton to get the chance to play in the Premiership," said Ince. "You always miss quality players when they go, but there are players within the club who are desperate to show what they can do. Just like I was when I started on the bench."

Ashton had a quiet outing by his high standards on Tuesday but helped create Crewe's second goal for Mark Rovers, seconds before the halftime break, with a clever reverse pass.

There was more energy than poise in QPR's second half rally, which was often nullified by the young visitors although the London club did manage a late item by defender Dan Shittu.

"I was disappointed with (conceding) that goal," said Ince. "I always go after a clean sheet."

It is a truly festive season if Crewe fans only have to worry about conceding the odd consolation item but Ince warned that they should act soon to keep him at their Gresty Road headquarters.

"My ambition is always to better myself," he said, "whether that means raising my standard as a player or moving to a higher club. I have experienced second division and first division and I want to play at a higher level or for a more ambitious club.

"Crewe are an improving team but I think they still see themselves as a feeder club."

Gradi has already resigned himself to losing Ashton to a wealthier club sooner or later.

Ince would be tempted by a similar approach.