STEVE Davis has demanded rapid improvement from his struggling Crewe Alexandra side.

Having lost their first three games, the Alex sit just off the foot of the League One table ahead of Saturday’s trip to Swindon Town.

Tuesday night’s shock 5-2 defeat at home to promoted Rochdale looks like a real wake up call, with fans already fearing another season-long relegation battle is on the cards.

New recruit Marcus Haber struck in the ninth and 62nd minute, but a hat-trick from Matt Done with strikes either side of the break, plus goals from Ian Henderson in the first half and Peter Vincenti just after the hour completed the embarrassment.

“We haven't got any points and that makes it two defeats at home which is unacceptable,” blasted Davis. “The players have got their heads down and they’re stunned. But it’s happened and we have to move forward.

“It was really poor defending from us. The two centre halves just couldn't cope. Every time Rochdale attacked, they looked like they would score.

“There were so many errors, the gap between the midfield and defence was all wrong. It’s hard for Greg (Leigh) and George (Ray), they are young and still learning.

“But we need to know if George is going to be a player or not and he has to show us if he can be a centre half. I didn’t see that result coming, that is for sure and there has to be a response from the back players this week.

“The decision for me is whether we are going for them because we can’t keep conceding like that.”

Davis felt Haber proved to be one of the night’s only real plus points as the striker made his full debt in place of Vadaine Oliver.

“It might be wrong to say but I thought we were decent going forward,” added Davis. “I patted Marcus on the back because sometimes you can overlook it in these circumstances.

“But he took his goals well and was one of the few plus points. We’re always trying to get better and we can’t dwell on it.

“I know the lads can do better than that and I’ll put my faith in them. That is what I have to do.”

Max Clayton will not return to the Alex despite two failed trials at Premier League outfit Sunderland and Championship new boys Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The 20-year-old might even look abroad to escape South Cheshire and the compensation package Crewe are due, following the years of investment in his development.

“He doesn’t want to come back,” explained Davis. “I’ve spoken to him and he was waiting to see what his next move is. We’re genuinely in the dark, I’ve spoken to the chairman and he is none the wiser.”

Crewe face a return at home to Rochdale in round one of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on Tuesday, September 2.