FA Cup progress is vital for Vale

FA Cup progress is vital for Vale

Rob Fielding believes that getting Port Vale into the FA Cup third round draw is vital – for more reasons than you may think…

That’s all very well and good in principle, but with Football League fair play rules in place, it would be difficult for Smurthwaite to back the manager unless fresh revenue comes into the club…

Rob Fielding writes…

I read comments in the Sentinel this week that claimed that “it would be criminal for Smurthwaite not to back Adams in the January transfer window.” Columnist Alex Wood believes that “Vale lack the consistency for a serious play off push” but “add a couple of fresh faces” and “it could be a different story.”

That’s all very well and good in principle, but with Football League fair play rules in place, it would be difficult for Smurthwaite to back the manager unless fresh revenue comes into the club.

Stoke-on-Trent is a deprived area and it’s difficult for the club to ask fans for much more than they already give. Many struggle to afford a season ticket and while the new club shops should bring in healthy returns over the festive period, I can’t see that revenue being anything like enough to fund high-quality additions to the squad.

So, where could additional funds come from? I think the obvious route is an FA Cup third round tie against high-profile opposition…

So, where could additional funds come from? I think the obvious route is an FA Cup third round tie against high-profile opposition. Vale have already been given the best possible chance to progress to the third round (a second-round tie at home against non-league Salisbury) and would therefore only have themselves to blame if they fail to reach the third round.

When the third-round draw is made (around the 8th December) I will be desperate to see Vale drawn against one of the Premier League big boys. A few years ago, Colchester earned around £750,000 when they played Chelsea in the cup and that sort of financial injection would be very welcome at Vale Park.

Clubs can resubmit their financial projections to the League at any time, so a money-spinning tie against a Premier League side in early January (the third round traditionally occurs around my birthday – the 5th January) could potentially see enough funds coming in for Adams to strengthen his squad before the end of the January transfer window.

I actually feel the squad is already stronger for last weekend’s game anyhow – I’d not seen Richard Duffy as a centre-half before, but his composed and vocal performance (did anyone else see how he organised the backline?) will give Adams options at the back, while the rise of Jordan Hugill (already hailed as effectively a new signing) has given the rest of the strikeforce a collective kick up the backside.

Nevertheless, a pacy defender and another central midfielder would give Vale even more options and might, just might, give us a chance of a play-off push.

Unless the third-round draw is Peterborough away, that is…

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