Port Vale fans may be advised to take their boots to Roots Hall after injuries and the completion of loan spells reduced Micky Adams first-team squad to just thirteen fully fit first-team players. Although Micky Adams denies the squad is down to the “bare bones” – a lack of transfer funds, the return of loanees to parent clubs and injuries could see a distinctly threadbare squad travel to Southend at the weekend.
Vale have reported a mounting injury list with Rob Taylor (calf), Stuart Tomlinson (groin) probably ruled out of the game and Sam Morsy (shin), Ben Williamson (knee) and Phil Roe (dead leg) major doubts. Long-term injured Ryan Burge (knee) and Lewis Haldane (broken leg) are also out of contention.
Meanwhile, lack of funds has seen five loanees (Liam Chilvers, Andrew Little, Jennison Myrie-Williams, Guy Madjo and Shane O’Connor) depart Vale Park recently with O’Connor somewhat ironically joining opponents Southend on trial.
Micky Adams told the official Port Vale website that: “I wouldn’t say we are down to the bare bones, but certainly we have got some injuries, and people that remain doubtful for Saturday. We have to work with what we have got, if that means supplementing the squad with youth players, then that’s what we will do. That’s the job, that’s the hand I have got, we are not going to make excuses for losing games of football, it’s 11 v 11 and we are all playing for our futures.”
The injuries reduce the fully fit first-team players Adams can call upon to thirteen. Chris Martin could replace Tomlinson in goal, with Rigg and Dodds replacing Myrie-Williams and Taylor respectively. Meanwhile, rookie summer signings Kingsley James and youth trio Ryan Lloyd, Sam Johnson and Joe Davis could all make the bench.
Possible Vale starting eleven: Martin, Yates, Owen, McCombe, Collins, Dodds, Griffith, Loft, Rigg, Richards, Pope
Subs: McDonald, James, Lloyd, Davis, Johnson
This severe lack of squad depth will surely increase fan pressure for the underfire board to step down and allow fresh ownership and investment to take over the club before the end of the crucial January transfer window, although many fans suspect it will take either an EGM or legal action to force the universally unpopular board to quit.