CREWE Alexandra manager Dave Artell says Ryan Lowe’s “head and heart” were away from the club after the striker re-joined former club Bury.

The 38-year-old was The Alex’s top scorer this season having scored nine times, but has left Gresty Road to take up a player-coach role at Gigg Lane.

While admitting he was disappointed by Lowe’s decision, Artell says he felt unable to stand in his way.

“Once it was made clear to me that Ryan wanted to be elsewhere then it was an easy decision to make,” he told

“Ryan asked to leave and it was disappointing but he sees it as a passage into a second career and we understood that.

“If he was younger then it would have been very different but I think it was obvious that his head and his heart was up the road at Gigg Lane.

“I want players here who are prepared to run through brick walls for the club.

“I’m not saying Ryan wouldn’t have done that because he is professional and knows the score but I cannot be standing in people’s way if they are not 100 per cent up for the fight.”

Lowe’s departure has been partially offset by the arrival of striker Jordan Bowery on loan from Leyton Orient.

The 25-year-old, who can count Aston Villa and Rotherham United among his former clubs, will remain with The Alex until the end of the season.

Bowery is likely to make his home debut this weekend when Crewe welcome Cheltenham Town to Gresty Road, having started last weekend’s 3-1 defeat at league leaders Doncaster Rovers.

Artell’s side will be looking for a victory that would help arrest an alarming slide towards the League Two relegation zone.

As it stands, Crewe sit 19th and five points clear of the bottom two, with Saturday’s opponents four points behind them in 22nd.

However, Artell was keen to put the fixture into perspective, saying it is far from a “life or death” game.

“The next one is important because it is the one in front of us. It is not Cup Final time yet,” he said.

“There are three points up for grabs and I’m sure Cheltenham will be treating it exactly the same.

“It is not life or death for us on Saturday because we are still in January and there are a lot of games to go yet.

“It is not do or die and it is important that it is not treated like a cup final because the players have to relax and express themselves.

“It is important and we are at home but we have a plan to go out there and win and that is what we will aim to do.”

Gary Johnson’s Cheltenham will be looking to complete a treble of victories over The Alex this season on Saturday, having beaten them in League Two and the FA Cup.