Rob Fielding says it’s a long shot but will a recent signing be a canny piece of business by the club?
Rob Fielding writes…
The signings made by Port Vale late on in the January transfer window have been largely dismissed as a waste of time and effort.
With no manager in place, Vale’s signings were by-and-large untested (and presumably cheap) players.
Young midfielders Toby Edser and Callum Whelan may go on to have decent careers in the game but were not what a club crying out for experience in midfield needed at the time.
The same can be said of Daniel Trickett-Smith – who was signed at the end of January but after being loaned to former club Leek Town now won’t be eligible to play for the Valiants until next season. Many Vale fans will be wondering at the point of signing a player who cannot even feature this season but in contrast to the loan signings, Trickett-Smith may just prove to be a canny piece of business by the club.
OK, admittedly it’s a long shot and not all signings work out – but there’s clearly real potential in the 23 year-old midfielder.
He began his career at Crewe and at 16 he was one of the brightest prospects in the game with Manchester City and Liverpool battling for his signature. It was Liverpool who won the chase with a deal that would have hit £1m with first-team appearances. The England youth international starred as Liverpool reached the FA Youth Cup final but he couldn’t break into the senior team and was released in 2016.
This prompted Trickett-Smith to go back to basics, he spent time in the US Leagues before a spell under renowned former Crewe coach Neil Baker in the Evostick League playing for Leek Town. His form for Leek prompted Vale to move for the youngster and signing him on an eighteen month deal in January.
It prompts an interesting question over whether Trickett-Smith can deliver for Vale next season. Arguably one of the key areas the Valiants need to strengthen is midfield where more creativity and goals are needed. If he fires, perhaps the former Leek man can be the man to provide both.
The 23 year-old may also have the right manager in John Askey. Presuming the club doesn’t descend into the chaos of administration, Askey is expected to be in charge next season and has a solid reputation for developing lapsed talent. Not only that but Askey also got the best out of Danny Whitaker – a creative goalscoring midfielder in a similar mould to Vale’s recent signing.
Could the Vale manager revive Tickett-Smith’s career? Arguably Vale have not had a creative goalscoring midfielder since the days of Whitaker and (another double-barrelled midfielder) Marc Bridge-Wilkinson.
Can Trickett-Smith thrive under John Askey, get over the setback of his Liverpool disappointment and prove to be a bargain buy? Only time till tell.
Daniel Trickett-Smith Factfile
Clubs: Crewe, Liverpool, Sacramento Republic, Leek Town