Half-season review: the attack

Half-season review: the attack

Continuing our half-season review, here’s our look at how the Port Vale attack has fared so far this season.

All stats are up to and including the league game against Stevenage.

You are very welcome to disagree (or agree) with these ratings by sending in a comment (at the bottom of the page).

Tom Pope

He’s proved his worth in the higher division after a somewhat stop-start first-half of the season.

He began with five games without a goal before a run of five in five. He was then dropped for youngster Jordan Hugill which seemed to give him a “kick up the backside” as he responded with a run of two in two. Another lean spell of four games without a goal was then followed by three goals in his last three games.

Overall, a return of ten goals before Christmas is pretty handy and Pope remains a key player for the club upfront.

In a word: Talismatic
Rating: B+

Injury record: Nothing to speak of
Disciplinary record: 2 yellows
OVF Man of the match awards: None
Games played: 25
Goals: 11

Lee Hughes

He’s been used more sparingly than some fans would have believed after Vale’s other forwards stepped up to the plate. But on his day, Hughes remains a potential match-winner – although he’s probably most effective as a “super sub.”

His record remains excellent – three goals in six starts (plus nine sub appearances) and off the pitch I’d hope he’s imparting his poaching skills to the likes of Williamson and Hugill. However, I feel this could be the last season at Vale Park for the veteran.

In a word: Supersub
Rating: C+

Injury record: None to speak of
Disciplinary record: 3 yellow cards
OVF Man of the match awards: 2
Games played: 15
Goals: 3

Gavin Tomlin

After a slow start, Tomlin joined the “comeback club” (alongside Messrs Duffy and Taylor) and made a positive impact on his return to the first-team.

Tomlin’s first senior goal will live long in the memory as it helped end a 66 year winless streak against Walsall but his overall contribution since returning to the side has been much better.

The only concern is whether he will score enough goals to justify a starting place upfront.

In a word: Tricky
Rating: C

Injury record: A niggly injury ruled him out for some weeks
Disciplinary record: None
OVF Man of the match awards: 1
Games played: 9
Goals: 1

Ben Williamson

On song, Ben can look a top-class player but at this stage of his career he still lacks the consistency to be trusted with a regular starting place.

As a result, he’s been used as an impact sub with his strength and speed troubling tiring defences.

It’s brought him two goals so far this season and that is probably the most disappoining aspect of Williamson’s play – the lack of consistent scoring. It’s probably a “chicken and egg” situation as more starts will probably generate more goals but he has to score enough goals in order to be given that place.

If he can get it right, he could be one hell of a player in League One.

In a word: Potential
Rating: C+

Injury record: None to speak of
Disciplinary record: 1 yellow card
OVF Man of the match awards: None
Games played: 20
Goals: 2

Jordan Hugill

Arguably the biggest surprise of the season, Hugill’s rapid progression into the first-team represents the first success of the Port Vale development squad.

A prolific loan spell at Gateshead illustrated Hugill’s promise but surely no-one was expecting Micky Adams to propel Hugill into the first-team in place of Tom Pope. However, the gamble worked spectacularly well with Hugill winning MOTM against Crawley and his form inspiring Pope to increase his goals return.

The youngster then scored his first senior goal against Shrewsbury and even though he’s dropped out of the squad in recent weeks, he remains a hot prospect for the future.

In a word: Stratospheric
Rating: C+

Injury record: None to speak of
Disciplinary record: 1 yellow card
OVF Man of the match awards: 1
Games played: 5
Goals: 1

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