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Two Middlesbrough loanees making their mark at Crewe as Railwaymen eye play-offs

Over the years Middlesbrough have had several young players graduate through their illustrious academy system and into the first-team picture; defender Nathan Wood and striker Stephen Walker are no different.

Both players have made their Middlesbrough debuts despite their tender ages, with Wood becoming the club’s youngest ever player in a competitive game in the process.

Wood and Walker were used sporadically under previous boss Jonathan Woodgate and the former was included in several matchday squads under new manager Neil Warnock, although Walker was shipped out on loan at the start of the campaign, joining MK Dons.

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However, with the forward recalled in January and Wood’s lack of regular playing time for the Middlesbrough first-team, the duo were loaned out to League One side Crewe Alexandra, where Walker had also spent the latter half of last season.

Both players have made a big impact since arriving, with Wood having started the four previous games for the Railwaymen, losing just once in that timeframe. Whereas Walker scored his first goal for the club since re-signing, scoring in the 86th minute to snatch a point away at Blackpool.

The goal was a well-worked move from the visitors, with Walker picking up the ball in the middle of the park and passing to his fellow Middlesbrough loanee. Wood then laid it off to Rio Adebisi who played a ball over the top to Walker, who had beaten the offside trap, before the 20-year-old lashed the ball past Chris Maxwell in the Tangerines’ net.

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Despite only having been promoted from League Two this season, Crewe find themselves in 11th position in the third tier standings. David Artell’s side are currently seven points off the top-six with 14 games left to play, although some sides above them do have games in hand.

The Middlesbrough loanees will be hoping to have more of an impact between now and the end of the current campaign, with Crewe vying for a play-off spot upon the conclusion of the season.

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