In the first of a series of features covering 2017 we look at the defender we’ve named as our young player of the year.
It may come as no surprise that this award has gone to James Gibbons.
The locally born youngster has been a revelation since he cemented a first-team place in November.
We had a glimpse of Gibbons’ potential last season when he made a single appearance in the FA Cup and it was to the surprise of many fans that the young star didn’t get more chances last campaign.
However, after Adam Yates was loaned to Macclesfield earlier this season and Lawrie Wilson had a slow start to his Vale career, Gibbons was handed his chance in the away fixture at Yeovil.
The right-back saw red on his full debut but his determination and attacking runs were enough for him to keep his place on his return to the side.
The former youth teamer was also instrumental in the scoring streak enjoyed by Tom Pope. The big frontman had struggled earlier in the season but largely through no fault of his own as he was starved of service. Gibbons’ surging runs helped as Vale “fed” their main man upfront.
Gibbons’ form has been such that he has been offered a contract extension and perhaps the only blemish on an impressive start to his Vale career has been a second red card, picked up in Vale’s FA Cup defeat to Yeovil. The youngster will no doubt learn from that and looks to be a top prospect for the future.
James Gibbons – OVF young player of the year for 2017
James Gibbons Factfile