Some might say it is too early to start talking about turning points. However, while last weekend’s visit to Crewe was just a short drive up the A500, it might be viewed at the end of the season as one of the biggest strides that the Valiants have taken this season.
The opening weeks of Vale’s season have been dogged by sub-par performances on the road, losing to Tranmere, Carlisle and Colchester and managing to hold Forest Green to a draw. These have been interspersed with much better form at home, with victories against Cambridge, Northampton and Newport being the stand-out moments.
The best is yet to come
The press was full of praise for veteran defender Leon Legge after his man-of-the-match performance at Crewe, which included a stunning header to seal the win, even if Crewe boss David Artell sees things in a different light. As for Legge himself, he is less concerned with his own performance than with the way the team as a whole is starting to come together.
A couple of weeks ago, it looked like being another season that would be seen as a battle to stay up. If you’d had loftier thoughts then you may as well have visited https://lvbet.com/en/casino/ and put your money on a game of roulette or spun the reels on sizzling hot deluxe as to have backed The Valiants to do anything more than survive.
However, what a difference a game makes, particularly at this point in the season, and maybe this could be the time to be talking about turning points. Those three points put Port Vale into joint eleventh. Far from being in the danger zone, this is launchpad territory, particularly with two more home games to come.
Legge will feel that he is now an established part of the back four, but in an interview with the Stoke Sentinel, he was more interested in talking about how the team itself is coming together. He said the side is feeling more settled than it was in the opening games, particularly in the back four. He added that things are looking just as promising up front, commenting: “We have good partnerships and it is settling in with Popey and Ricky so everything is falling into place. We just have to keep our good run going.”
Timing is everything
This bedding in process could not have come at a better time. The Valiants play host to second placed Exeter next, and then welcome a visit from MK Dons. Last week, the bookies had Exeter as favourites for the win, but many are now in favour of Port Vale, who have shortened from 6/4 to 11/10. MK Dons, meanwhile, have not won a game in a month, and this weekend, Yeovil will be looking to pile on the misery. What it all adds up to is a genuine possibility of adding another six points to the tally over the next couple of weeks, and then travelling to hapless Grimsby for the next away clash on 6thy October bursting with confidence.
Bookies quietly counting chickens
Is it too early to be counting chickens? Of course it is, but that is exactly what bookmakers do for a living, so it is worth taking a look at their long-range forecasts to get an impartial view on the way the wind might be blowing. Last year, it was a battle to survive, but for 2018/19, The Valiants are even money to finish in the top half and a 5/1 shot to make the playoffs. There’s plenty of time to go, but we think we know where Leon Legge would tell you to put your money.