RICHIE Wellens wants to get to the bottom of Keshi Anderson’s mysterious fitness issue before starting the forward again.

The 24-year-old was substituted with only 33 minutes played in Town’s visit to Crewe on Saturday – a game that ended 3-1 to the hosts following Chris Porter’s second-half brace and Charlie Kirk’s injury-time strike.

Wellens, 39, cited Anderson’s lack of explosive movement and fitness levels as reasons for his decision to take the former Crystal Palace man off the pitch at Gresty Road.

Despite wanting to play his – at times – all-action number 10, Wellens isn’t prepared to risk wasting a substitute if he believes Anderson isn’t up to the task of completing the full 90 minutes.

He said: “He knows himself that I don’t want to bring him off.

“I want Keshi (Anderson) to be on the pitch and doing his best.

“I think everyone could see that he wasn’t quite at it in the first 25 minutes (at Crewe).

“We didn’t win any second balls throughout the whole game, so we needed to get three in the midfield and try to tighten up.

“When we keep turning the ball over and giving the ball away against some technically good players, then it’s tough.”

Saturday marked the third time in as many games where Anderson has been removed from play by Wellens prior to the hour mark.

He was switched at half-time in Town’s visit to Bradford City a fortnight ago before departing the field with 58 minutes played against Plymouth Argyle on October 12.

Anderson was also removed from play in the first half at Cambridge, though that was due to picking up a minor hamstring knock – which ruled him out of Newport County’s visit.

Wellens added: “We need to get some work into Keshi.

“That’s three games on the bounce now where we have picked him because we’re getting reports from medical staff that he is fit enough to play.

“At the end of the day, I pick him so it’s on my head.

“But we need to get to the bottom of it.

“Keshi is a quick player, an explosive player.

“But at the minute, we’re not seeing that from him. To me, it signals a fitness issue.”