James Russell thinks success is a long-term project and realistically Vale will need to work hard to push for the play-off places this season.
James Russell writes…
Many bookmakers believe Port Vale are already up against it in League two this season, with other teams looking a lot more competitive. In a tough league, progress may need to be gradual so let’s start with the basics – if Port Vale can remain in the league – that would likely be seen as a stepping stone towards success the season after next as the club rightly targets long-term progress not expensive quick fixes.
The Vale may have a lot more to give this season than what punters think though, and with a few changes and additions they could be lot more competitive than many think. Let’s have a look at some of the things they will need to do now to give them a chance of finishing in the top-half of the table.
Extensive training sessions
John Askey will already be looking at his fixture list for the start of August. He knows that fitness is going to be one of the key elements this season to be able to compete with the best. He’s already got the lads doing lengths of the pitch in the heat, and he’ll already have them in the gym several times a week. However, if he wants to go one step further this season, he’ll need to turn up the heat on his players himself. An additional training session or two during the month could make a huge difference in boosting the players’ fitness levels ready for the new season. Askey will need to get his players in the best shape possible to be able to cope with some of the physical challenges they will face from other teams. Could this be the year for Vale to jump to League One? Have a look at some of the odds over at MobileWins Casino – that also specialises in Phone pay betting providing the best odds on football events.
Another class striker
Vale already have the likes of Pope, Bennett and Cullen in their starting line-up, but they’ll need to go one step further if they are going to have the strength going forward. Having those three players in your team is a blessing, but they’re going to need to rotate their team considerably to keep the whole team fresh as the season goes on. With an additional striker, that could well give them the depth they need to keep scoring goals when it really matters. They aren’t, unfortunately, going to be able to afford a Messi or Ronaldo this season, but what’s important here is that they get a striker that gives them depth without suffering on quality.
Faith in the manager
You can’t lead a good football team to promotion if you don’t have the right backing from the owners. Luckily for John Askey, the new owners already have faith in him being able to take the club forward. However, they may need to show that by giving him the money he needs to strengthen his squad. The new owners will need to have deep pockets in this transfer window if they are to snap up one or two players that could give Askey the fresh legs he needs to flourish in his position of manager.
Highly motivated players
The Port Vale players will need to ignore last season and get on with the job in hand this season. John Askey is a good leader and doesn’t find it hard to build relationships with his players, but his players also have a role in ensuring a successful season. Askey will need to iron out those players to see which ones he thinks will stay motivated and which ones should be shown the door.
A good start to the season
On paper, you would feel Port Vale have a tough start given the fixtures they face in August – but they’ll still need to show determination to succeed. The last thing they want is a bad start to the season. Instead, they’ll like to see out August with a few points on the board to give them a better chance come the end of the season. Port Vale don’t have the firepower to compete at the highest level in this league as of yet, but what they can do is have a good season and then create a foundation to build on for next season. Bookmakers have Port Vale to win the league 25/1 or longer, so they certainly aren’t out of the equation just yet, regardless of what many punters believe.
Of course, Port Vale will still need to do all the basics right to ensure they not only avoid relegation, but also have a successful season that they can compete at the highest level. This game is all about giving back to the fans and, if Port Vale doesn’t perform this year, they could lose a lot of faith from the fans and that could spell trouble once again for the Valiants.