Port Vale’s loan moves this season deserve praise

Port Vale’s loan moves this season deserve praise

Rob Fielding thinks that Rob Page and his coaching staff have done well this season in terms of loans both in and out of the club.

Rob Fielding writes…

The emergence of Nathan Smith at Torquay United has been covered regularly on this website and it shows how intelligent use of the loan market can benefit the club.

If Vale are to develop their youngsters such as promising keeper Ryan Boot, I think they really should look at long-term, rather than short-term moves…

Smith is one of the favourites to win the Torquay player of the year award this season and his performances have arguably put him in contention for a place in the Vale first-team squad next season.

While the player deserves many paudits for his attitude and application during his loan, arguably the club’s decision to send him on a season-long loan also played its part. In previous seasons, talented youngsters such as Ryan Lloyd (Tamworth for a month) or Sam Johnson (Alfreton for a month) had occasional short spells during which there was hardly the time to adapt to regular first-team football let alone develop as a player.

On the other hand, Smith knew he was moving to Torquay in the summer and knew he would be there for the whole season – giving him time to adapt to his new surroundings, his new team mates and subsequently develop as a player. So, if Vale are to develop their youngsters such as promising keeper Ryan Boot, I think they really should look at long-term, rather than short-term moves.

But Vale haven’t just used the loan market soley for the development of new talent. The Valiants have also managed to send out players not in the first-team squad this season and thus ease the wage bill in the process. This season the likes of Adam Yates, Colin Daniel, Sam Johnson and Ryan Lloyd have all left for loan spells elsewhere.

Perhaps this season, with an experienced coaching team around him, he has learned from those mistakes…

And in terms of bringing players in, Vale have arguably done much better this season than the last. Last season, Vale brought in the likes of Franscisco Junior, Greg Luer and Harry Panayiotou who managed the sum total of three appearances between them. Compare that to this season when the signature of influential defender Ryan Inniss was secured before the season started and Matthew Kenendy has come in to play half a dozen games.

Some fans tend to forget that Rob Page is still a relative rookie in management terms and he was castigated last season for seemingly letting loan signings sit on the sidelines rather than play. Perhaps this season, with an experienced coaching team around him, he has learned from those mistakes both in terms of allowing promising youngsters and squad players to leave but also in terms of the players (like Inniss and Kennedy) who have joined Vale on loan this season.