Our correspondent thinks the Valiants have the potential to be in promotion contention this season.
James Russell writes…
League Two is one of the most competitive divisions in English football but Port Vale will be quietly confident of climbing up to the third flight at some point in the not-so-distant future. Currently sitting comfortably in mid-table, Vale will be eyeing up one of the coveted playoff spots in the coming months and it would take a brave man to write them off completely after a promising run of results in recent weeks.
A 2-2 draw at home to struggling Notts County was hardly the perfect result for Vale in their most recent league fixture but supporters will be looking to take the positives out of that clash. Neil Aspin’s side extended their unbeaten run to four league games and a favourable run of fixtures is approaching in the coming weeks. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Vale continue their ascent up the League Two table.
With an FA Cup first-round clash against Sunderland approaching, Aspin has a difficult choice to make: does he go all out to win that encounter or focus on climbing the League Two table?
Currently six points outside of the top six, Vale will be ruing those dropped points against Notts County but it would be foolish to ponder on that result for too long. With an FA Cup first-round clash against Sunderland approaching, Aspin has a difficult choice to make: does he go all out to win that encounter or focus on climbing the League Two table? The Vale Park faithful will be split on this issue ahead of Sunday’s clash…
Tom Pope has been Vale’s main man for the best part of a decade and his goals will be key to their aspirations in 2018/19. With three goals in his last four league games, Pope is in red-hot form and he is going to take some stopping. Vale won two of those matches by one goal and that shows just how important he is in tight contests. Providing Pope stays fit, Vale are always in with a chance of winning matches.
If you look at Vale’s form in all competitions, Aspin’s men have lost just one of their last seven matches – an incredible run of form. Consistency has hindered Port Vale’s chances of success in recent years but this side is heading in the right direction. A return to League One, and possibly even the Championship, could be on the cards at some point. Vale fans would love to go up against old rivals Stoke City in the near future.
The Potters are languishing down in the second half of the Championship table and plenty of punters will be backing Gary Rowett’s side for relegation. The Championship betting has Stoke at 66/1 to drop into the third tier but a Potters collapse could spur Vale on even more to try and secure promotion up to League One. Reigniting that rivalry would be great for the loyal Port Vale fans.
Neil Aspin is an excellent coach at this level and Port Vale will continue to improve under his management. With Tom Pope firing on all cylinders, Vale can climb the League Two ladder in the coming months and a playoff berth could be on the cards. From there, anything is possible. The playoffs tend to bring out the best in players and fans will be hoping that Vale can defy the odds to secure promotion up to the third tier come May.