CREWE hope to have on-loan front man Uche Ikpeazu fit for Saturday’s crunch trip to fierce rivals Port Vale.

With the Alex tumbling back towards the League One drop zone and the hosts still optimistic of a surprise play-offs push, it’s shaping up to be one of the most important derbies between the two clubs in recent years.

The 18-year-old Watford striker was sorely missed in last weekend’s 3-1 home defeat to leaders Brentford after picking up an ankle injury along with his brace at Bradford seven days earlier.

“Hopefully he’ll be back because we have to be more of a threat going forward,” said manager Steve Davis.

“We missed Uche without a doubt and a lot of the changes we made against Brentford were because we were without him.”

While emotions are likely to be running high off the pitch, the Alex boss wants his side to keep cool and focus on three vital points.

“We know how much it means to everyone and what is at stake,” he added.

“But every game is important from now until the end of the season because of the position we are in.

“We’ll approach it in the same way we would any game.

“The important thing after any defeat is to respond and the players have been flying in training.

“It shows they care and they want to put it right on Saturday.”

Jennison Myrie-Williams struck a late winner as the Vale came from behind to win 2-1 at Gresty Road last November.

But Davis believes his side has made big strides since that last encounter.

“It was coming off the back of the Cornwall news and it seemed like the weight on everyone shoulders had been lifted,” continued Davis.

“It was a much better performance than we had witnessed previously and we just ran out of steam.

“From that game we’ve had more pluses than negatives in terms of both performances and results.

“We hope we’re in better shape for this derby than the last one.

“It’s important to keep a calm head.

“We’ve got to focus on the job in hand, win the game and forget everything else.”