The Alex will get their 2022-23 Papa John's Trophy campaign underway at Bolton Wanderers on Tuesday (7pm).
Alex Morris’ side head to the University of Bolton Stadium in good spirits after a strong performance at Bradford City, where a professional display earned a creditable 0-0 draw.
Now they will bid to get off to a positive start in Northern Group B, which also contains Tranmere Rovers and Leeds United Academy.
Bolton come into the fixture after a steady start to their League One campaign, which has seen them win two, draw two, and lose two so far.
After a valiant effort in the Carabao Cup last week against Aston Villa, a defeat at Plymouth on Saturday left the Trotters sitting 10th in the standings.
Wanderers’ manager Ian Evatt, 40, took the reins in July 2020, and led them to promotion back to League One in 2020-21.
Last season, the former Blackpool and Chesterfield defender, who achieved great success in his first managerial job with Barrow, guided the Lancashire side to a ninth-placed finish.
Alex Morris: "It’s a different type of game to approach. We’ve gone through who we’re going to select and we're looking forward to the challenge of facing a team that’s going to put out a strong side due to their squad depth.”
Bolton defender Jack Iredale: "Winning is a great habit to have and it’s a game we’re not going to be taking lightly. It's a game everyone is looking forward to.”
Alex Morris has reported no new fresh concerns but expects to still be without Aussie Lachlan Brook (ankle) and Rio Adebisi (foot). Christopher Long is closing in on match action but the game might have come too soon for him.
Bolton have no fresh injury concerns, though full-back Conor Bradley is only one yellow card away from suspension.
Head to Head
Bolton have the upper hand in the head-to-head battle, winning 14 out of the 26 fixtures between both clubs, with Crewe victorious on six occasions.
In the most recent meeting, the Trotters scored a late winner courtesy of Amadou Bakayoko in a 1-0 success at Mornflake Stadium last March.
Scott Oldham will be the man in the middle on Tuesday evening, having last officiated an Alex game in February 2022 against Oxford United.
He will be assisted by Lewis Raper and Helen Edwards, with Shaun Taylor acting as fourth official.
Other fixtures in the Northern section of the draw on Tuesday evening are: Hartlepool v Harrogate Town; Morecambe v Everton U21; Shrewsbury v Wolves U21; Doncaster v Newcastle United U21; Derby v Grimsby; Mansfield v Manchester City U21; Fleetwood Town v Barrow; Burton Albion v Leicester City U21.
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The action is complemented by commentary from the BBC Radio Stoke team of Graham McGarry and Peter Morse.
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