Date: 6th June 2007 at 12:54pm
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Crewe have moved to the head of the queue in the race to land Mansfield defender Alex John-Baptiste.

Dario Gradi is understood to have held talks with the out-of-contract star and is hoping to complete a deal by the end of the week.

Baptiste has kept Mansfield guessing since the end of the season. Despite the offer of a three-year deal to stay at Field Mill, the lure of League One football might be too much for the 21-year-old to turn down.

Forest have reportedly been watching the player for some time but have never put a firm offer in, with Chambers, Morgan and Breckin it is unlikely that Baptisite would fancy starting as a bench player. Norwich and Hartlepool have also shown interest.

Baptiste is understood to have met with Gradi, who has a reputation for developing talent. Gradi said: ‘We’ve got two defensive targets. One would pose problems with wages and agent’s fees, the other would involve a compensation sum.’

Assistant manager Neil Baker added: ‘They are two promising lads we are pursuing and hopefully we can do something by the end of the week.

We are short of numbers at the back and we are fully aware of the importance of getting at least one more defender in as soon as we can.’

 

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