Chris Neal joins Bury on loan as Page opts for Jak Alnwick

In a surprising move, Port Vale have allowed goalkeeper Chris Neal to join Bury on loan until the end of the season.

The move is somewhat of a shock as Neal has been playing for Vale’s first-team for the last five games, including the win over Peterborough United when he was favoured over fit-again Jak Alnwick.

I’ve got a tough decision for Saturday’s game so I’ve made my decision…

However, perhaps the fact that Neal is out of contract in the summer and Alnwick is fit again and on a long-term deal with Vale influenced this move.

Manager Rob Page appears to have made up his mind that Alnwick is the long-term option for the Vale with promising rookie Ryan Boot as back-up.

Talking about the move, Page told the official Port Vale website:  “Since Chris has been in, he’s been excellent.

“It was a tough decision to make last week but on the back of a clean sheet to leave Chris out would have been harsh.

“He’s gone in and played okay against Peterborough. I was disappointed with both goals but that’s not anything against Chris personally. Then I’ve got a tough decision for Saturday’s game so I’ve made my decision.

“I’ve always said I’ll support any senior players that want to go and play games and this has come up. Bury have shown interest to take him on loan and I want to help him out as well.

“It gives Ryan Boot an opportunity now to step up to the first team again and obviously we’ve got an outstanding goalkeeper in Jak Alnwick as well.”