CREWE are poised to make a move for former midfielder James Bailey.

The 25-year-old is available on a free transfer after being released by Championship play-off finalists Derby County this week.

Long touted for a return to south Cheshire, Bailey impressed initially after joining the Rams along with John Brayford in a combined £1m deal in 2010.

However, things didn’t work out for the Macclesfield-born player who spent the majority of last season out on loan at Coventry.

Keen to fill the long-standing void left by Luke Murphy, boss Steve Davis might be tempted to offer Bailey a chance to resurrect his career at Crewe.

Assistant manager Neil Baker admits Chuks Aneke remains the club’s number one target, although Wolves striker Liam McAlinden is tipped as a potential loan option if they fail.

“We’d love to sign Chuks but we’ll face real competition,” he said. “He’s at the top of our list. He gave us real power and strength and we helped him, too.

“We have found him his ideal position and I know he enjoyed it here, but we think he may be beyond us.”

Baker says Crewe will look to bring in reinforcements for another tough season ahead.

“We’re sorting out potential targets,” he added. “Last season was as difficult as I have known at Crewe and it was a real relief to win that final game.

“We have got to find a way to concede less. Last season it was often down to individual mistakes and it probably has been for the last few years.

“When you’re tipped as the favourites to go down, it makes you realise the size of league we are in.

“It might be the third tier of English football but there are some massive clubs in it now. Our aim every year is to try and improve, but we didn’t do it last year.

“I think we got about 60 points in our first year but we had a lot of luck, particularly at home when some games could have gone either way.

“I think next year will be just as difficult but it doesn’t mean we will be down there. We’re looking to improve everything, the players coming in along with the players already here.”