Vale’s renewed squad strength paying dividends

Vale’s renewed squad strength paying dividends

OVF Rob Fielding is impressed after another Port Vale ‘forgotten man’ makes an memorable comeback into the starting eleven.

Perhaps more importantly Taylor has given Micky Adams’ troublesome left flank (and we’re referring to the Vale side, not the manager’s newly repaired hips here) a boost…

Rob Fielding writes…

Hot on the heels of Richard Duffy’s rehabilitation with the first-team, Rob Taylor also made a decisive impact during Vale’s 2-1 win over Crewe.

Duffy was arguably one of the best players on the pitch when he surprisingly lined-up as centre-half against Shrewbury. However, Taylor’s impact was perhaps even greater as the 28 year-old wideman, who hadn’t featured since April, marked his 100th league start of his Vale career with the first goal.

Perhaps more importantly Taylor has given Micky Adams’ troublesome left flank (and we’re referring to the Vale side, not the manager’s newly repaired hips here) a boost. Vale have had problems on the left with the so far ineffectual Kaid Mohamed farmed out on loan to AFC Wimbledon, Dan Jones often unavailable due to suspension and injury and now the reliable Carl Dickinson missing through injury. With regular left midfielder and captain Doug Loft also leaving the field with an injury, Taylor’s re-emergence is almost certainly a very welcome sign for the Vale manager.

Earlier in the season, Micky Adams expressed concerns about the depth of his squad and most teams would struggle with the loss of not one but two left-backs. However, despite those setbacks, the re-emergence of Duffy and Taylor plus the rise of striker Jordan Hugill from the development side have helped to make the Vale squad look stronger this week than it did just a couple of weeks ago.

Adams takes care to explain how much emphasis he puts on attitude and professionalism and the way that Duffy and Taylor played after being absent from the starting eleven vindicates that approach. There was little sign of “rustiness” from either as they slotted back into the side seamlessly. Adams clearly appears to be able to mentally get the best out of his group of players (which I feel is no mean achievement) and those out of the squad don’t sulk, they knuckle down, train hard and do their best to get their place back.

And if that mentally tough squad can manage to get something from two tough fixtures against Preston and Walsall, Vale fans just might be targeting a place in the play-off places for the festive period. It’s still early days, but surely supporters could not have dreamed of any more and a play-off spot would cap a marvellous first-half of the season.


The impact of Vale’s squad players:

  • Jordan Hugill: Vale win and end four game winless streak as he makes his senior debut
  • Richard Duffy: Vale win as defender returns to the side as a centre-half
  • Rob Taylor: Midfielder scores and Vale win as he makes first appearance since April

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