Youthful and dynamic Port Vale midfield sees veterans rightly sidelined

One of the changes made by manager Neil Aspin on Saturday was the lack of veteran faces in the Vale squad says Rob Fielding.

Rob Fielding writes…

One fact which may have escaped some fans’ attention on Saturday was the absence of veterans Danny Pugh, Michael Tonge and Antony Kay from the Port Vale squad to face Northampton.

Pugh, Tonge and Kay have all had distinguished careers but it’s surely a good thing that Vale don’t have to rely on thirty somethings coming towards the end of their playing time…

Neil Aspin instead opted for a midfield quartet of Whitfield (22), Conlon (22), Oyeleke (25) and Hannant (24) – a dynamic and youthful unit.

It’s clearly far to early to say if the four will forge a regular unit and whether they will bring sustained success to the Valiants but the signs against Northampton were promising. Oyeleke was a deserved man of the match with a powerful box-to-box display and I also felt his partner Conlon impressed. There was the odd groan from the crowd at the occasional mis-placed pass but I liked his eye for a forward ball and his link-up play. Considering this was only his second game of the season and first in central midfield, I thought there was some potential there.

Oyeleke and Conlon have clearly done enough to drop Luke Joyce to the bench while Hannant and Whitfield have done the same with David Worrall. With Joyce and Worrall now acting as back-up there’s no need for Vale’s veteran trio right now.

Pugh, Tonge and Kay have all had distinguished careers and can provide vastly experienced cover but it’s surely a good thing that Vale don’t have to rely on thirty somethings coming towards the end of their playing time.

The three veterans totalled over a hundred appearances last season – it’s difficult to see them getting anywhere near that this campaign.

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