It has already been a relatively busy summer of transfer activity at Vale Park, with Rob Page moving quickly to bring new blood into his squad, and also to secure the signatures of some familiar faces.
Here is a glance at what Valiants fans can potentially look forward to from five summer signings next season.
Of all Vale’s summer signings so far, 28-year-old midfielder Sam Foley might just be the most exciting of all.
A glance at his record last season might lead some to write him off as a cast-off from a relegated League Two club. But a closer examination reveals Foley was a shining light in a dark season for Yeovil Town, making 45 appearances that earned him six of the club’s eight Player of the Year awards on the final day of the season.
Some football betting giving odds of 13/8 for Vale to go down this season, but Foley rejected the offer of a two-year deal at Huish Park to join Page’s new-look team for next season.
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Vale fans will remember Streete from his loan spell towards the end of 2014, and will hope he can come back to Vale Park and show some of the same form that helped inspire the first clean sheet of the season in a 3-0 win over Leyton Orient last October.
At only 20 years of age, Streete has bags of potential, and has made the switch to League One in search of regular football.
In an era when many young players will happily sit on the fringes at Premier League clubs in the hope that their chance will one day arrive, it is refreshing to see Streete take his future into his own hands by bringing his talents to Port Vale – and he has already paid tribute to the Vale fans as being a factor in his decision.
Attacking outlets are something Rob Page is keen to build on over the summer, and while Sam Kelly is a midfielder by trade, he is likely to bring some dynamism to Port Vale’s forward line next season.
The 21-year-old has plenty of experience of life at big clubs, having come through the Norwich City Academy, and also having spent a year at Everton, where he featured for the Toffees’ Under-21s side.
Kelly has a deft first touch and burst of pace that earned him an involvement with the England Youth set up, and Valiants fans will hope Page adds a striker or two to the squad so that he has someone to aim at with his forward runs this season.
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At 31, Birchall is perhaps past his physical peak, but there is no doubt that he still has much to offer Rob Page’s squad, and his new 12-month deal seems ideal for both parties.
During a summer when lots of new faces are arriving at the club, it is vital to have players who know what Port Vale is all about, and few current players can claim to understand the history of the club better than Birchall.
His experience and cool head in midfield will be reassuring to the new arrivals, and if he can chip in a few more goals than his three of last season, he’ll be an even more valuable asset.
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Perhaps the best signing of the summer so far in terms of the value he brings to the squad is Michael O’Connor’s new contract.
Last season’s player of the year is the man Page is looking to build the team around, and rightly so.
His seven goals from midfield last term were vital in keeping Vale in League One, and he will show the likes of Foley and Kelly the way when it comes to being positive and attack-minded.
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