Is the future now looking brighter under the tenure of Neil Aspin? James Russell dreams of a club on the rise this season.
James Russell writes…
When Leicester City won the Premier League one lucky fan won £50,000 on a bet he had placed at the start of the season for The Foxes to win the League. The odds at the time were 5000/1 and his £10 punt was probably just a case of wishful thinking, or more like pure insanity. He was in fact offered £25,000 by the bookies to cash out his bet with 8 games left but bravely resisted and his faith in his team paid off, literally.
With seemingly anything possible, some viewers may be considering the chances of a Neil Aspin-inspired charge for the Valiants…
With seemingly anything possible, some viewers may be considering the chances of a Neil Aspin-inspired charge for the Valiants to make a similar miracle happen at Vale Park. When you consider that it has taken Aspin just three games to get two points more than Michael Brown managed in eight, with the same squad of players, it is hard not to be optimistic about the rest of this season and even the longer-term future under his tenure.
It has been said since the start of the season that this Vale squad is talented and has been under-performing rather than it being a case of not being good enough or lacking the quality required to be successful in League Two. That has been clearly demonstrated in the last couple of matches. Before Aspin took over the Valiants had only managed 8 goals in eleven matches. In just three under his tenure they already have 7 and killer marksman Tom Pope has five of those.
Such is the start they’ve made, punters will still get long odds of Vale reaching the play-offs at the very least, but with odds of promotion sitting at around 150/1 it may be worth a fanciful free bet. To win the League Two title Port Vale are marked at 1000/1, but even the most optimistic Vale fan would probably agree that a turn around on that sort of scale is unlikely.
The way Tom Pope has performed in the last three games is testament to Aspin’s ability to re-energise this squad and get them playing a more cohesive attacking style. The Pope signing was beginning to look like a mistake as he was ineffective and lacking in confidence yet, the decision to bring him back to the Burslem-based club is now looking vindicated.
His five goals in the last three matches have left him just two strikes behind the top scorers in League Two and it will be interesting to see whether he can keep it up and reach the fabled 20 goal mark. He has certainly had more support and looked less isolated in the last three games and if the supply continues to be as good as it has been then he has a great chance of finishing amongst the division’s top scoring elite come May.