Date: 2nd October 2006 at 6:02pm
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Manchester City boss Stuart Pearce is keeping a close eye on Crewe’s 19-year old England Youth International Billy Jones. Since making his debut as a 16-year old, Jones has been linked with numerous top flight clubs, but with his contractual situation less than certain, City may be ready to make a January swoop.

Jones is out-of-contract in the summer, and despite Crewe’s attempts to tie him down to a new deal, Jones is believed to be reluctant to sign a new deal. Billy has been restricted to left back this season, in a position which appears to restrict the youngster. Last season, Jones revelled in a central midfield role and was Crewe’s top scorer with 8 goals.

Man City have had scouts present at 8 of Crewe’s last 10 games, but ironically, Saturday was one of the two in which they weren’t present as Billy turned in a quality performance at centre-back. City have no real need for a right back or central midfielder currently, though it is believed Pearce is keen to add a versatile defensive player to his ranks to strengthen them both in the centre of defence and at left back. Sylain Distin is out-of-contract in the summer, so City will need to replace the Frenchman should he decide to leave.

Billy is likely to attract attention from other Premiership clubs in January should Crewe decide to advertise his availability, as it would be catastrophic for Crewe to lose their brightest prospect for the slight amount handed out by tribunals.