Two factors that could prevent Vale success this season

Tuesday’s defeat to Colchester United arguably highlighted two overriding issues for the Valiants this season.

Issue number one is a subject that has been dominating messageboard coversations for some weeks now and that is Vale’s seeming inability to defend set-plays. Colchester’s goal came from another set-piece and it is something the Valiants clearly have to addresss. Pundit Ray Williams suggested that one solution could be a move to zonal marking and it does look like the team will have to try something, anything different.

¬†Colchester’s goal came from another set-piece and it is something the Valiants clearly have to addresss…

The second issue is the make-up of the team for away trips. Some fans have accused Page of negative team selections – something that is all very well if you can grab the odd nil-nil draw but not much use if the team is regularly conceding from set-plays.

With Enoch Andoh possibly set for a long spell on the sidelines, Vale are short of counter attacking options for away games unless perhaps they adopt a different formation for away matches. If you can’t counter-attack, you need to be as strong defensively as possible.¬†It could be that the Valiants need to look at their assets and consider arguably their strongest suit – the midfield trio of Grant, O’Connor and Foley – all starting together with one of the wingers dropping out. If Andoh is injured, that could force the issue.

Yes, there are other factors – injuries, form and just plain luck but some of those are out of the club’s control. These two issues are not and both of them will have to be resolved if Vale are to progress and not struggle this campaign.

After some bright early season performances against Doncaster, Wigan and Sheffield United some fans may have been tempted to place a crafty bet on the Vale reaching the play-offs. You can even get a free Vale bet through but until these two key issues are resolved, Vale’s chances of a play-off push sadly look remote.

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