Securing duo’s futures is sensible and would give Vale a big boost

Securing duo’s futures is sensible and would give Vale a big boost

OVF editor Rob Fielding praises some sensible initiatives both on and off the Vale Park pitch…

Rob Fielding writes…

This could be the season when Vale get the basics right…

It seems that this could be the season when Vale get the basics right.

Off the pitch, there are new floodlights and the potential development of a block of apartments in the Lorne Street/Hamil Road corner.

On the pitch, the Vale management team are keen to secure the futures (one long-term and one short-term) of two of the side’s key performers – Jak Alnwick and Uche Ikpeazu. Securing both would be a great achievement in my opinion as they both offer contrasting skills that are difficult to replace.

I’m also pleased that the club have decided to not leave contract negotiations until the last minute. It was always a policy that annoyed me as I felt it left the possibility of another club making a counter offer and Vale missing out. I’m pleased that the Valiants have identified two players that they see as assets to the side and entered contract negotiations early.

Alnwick has been a revelation in goal and will surely offer the returning Chris Neal a real battle for the green jersey. I have to go back to the start of the season and praise Rob Page for acting decisively and bringing in Alnwick when Sam Johnson failed to impress in pre-season. All the signs are that Alnwick is enjoying regular football at Vale Park and should he agree a long-term deal, it would give Vale a real embarrassment of riches in the goalkeeping position – and we haven’t said that for some time.

Ikpeazu is out of contract at the end of the season and I’m sure Vale will be interested in discussing the forward’s long-term future if he continues to impress…

Ikpeazu offers another rare gift – that of creating and scoring goals. Vale are looking to extend his loan to the end of the season – and surely that’s a move that suits both sides. He’s way off a place in Watford’s first-team but has the chance of regular football with the Valiants. Interestingly, Ikpeazu is out of contract at the end of the season and I’m sure Vale will be interested in discussing the forward’s long-term future if he continues to impress.

There are still thorny issues for Vale to address this season – notably the policing of Vale Park and the small minority of fans seemingly intent on trouble. But that is a complex and difficult problem. What has impressed me is that this season the club seem to have their finger on the pulse when it comes to sensible and logical decisions (and that has not always been the case) as the move to secure the future of two key players shows.

If I were to be minutely critical then I would merely point out that if Enoch Andoh doesn’t move to Spurs in January (as the tabloid media suggests) then the club would be wise to try and secure his long-term future as well.