Brad Inman: Crewe Alexandra wait on Newcastle United youngster

Crewe Alexandra are hopeful of tying up the signing of young Newcastle United midfielder Brad Inman, who spent half of last season on loan at Gresty Road.

Having refused the offer of a new deal at St James' Park, the 21-year-old Australian may return to Cheshire.

"It looks that way," Crewe boss Steve Davis told BBC Radio Stoke.

"He appears keen to come. He hasn't expressed wishes to go anywhere else. But we're no further forward than last week. We've not agreed anything yet."

Inman enjoyed a successful loan spell last season with the Alex, hitting eight goals in 22 starts.

International call for Nolan

Crewe have had 18-year-old midfielder Liam Nolan. who is yet to make his first team bow, called up for Northern Ireland's Under-20 duty

But the stumbling block seems to be that Newcastle want a transfer fee.

"If we can agree something, then we will do something," added Davis.

"He's down at the club but we can't do anything with him in terms of training until we try and sort out something with Newcastle."

Inman would become Crewe's fourth summer signing if he completes his move, following French full-back Thierry Audel from Macclesfield Town, Accrington Stanley wide man Lee Molyneux and midfielder Anthony Grant.

Davis's side take on another Premier League side Aston Villa - including an expected appearance from Christian Benteke and Crewe old boy Ashley Westwood - in this Friday night's showpiece pre-season friendly at Gresty Road.

And Davis is looking for an improved performance after the 1-1 weekend draw at Chester and Monday night's 2-1 win at Stafford, where much sought-after teenager Max Clayton struck both goals.

"We'll be working every day, morning and afternoon, until we get it right.

"If they can't do better, then I'll find other players," warned the Crewe boss.