New Port Vale signing provides John Askey with welcome dilemma

New signing Will Atkinson impressed Port Vale manager John Askey on Saturday even though he wasn’t playing in his favoured position.

In the absence of suspended James Gibbons, former Mansfield Town man Atkinson slotted in seamlessly at right-back despite only signing on Friday and having not played a competitive game since May. The new signing was named as the sponsors’ man of the match after the 3-1 League Two victory over Morecambe.

Askey commented: “I was really pleased with him because he hasn’t played a game. You could see the quality when he was on the ball. I thought he played really well in a position that’s not familiar to him.

The Vale manager was pleased with Atkinson’s performance as a make-shift right-back adding: “It worked out well for us. Him getting on the ball in the full back position helped us immensely.”

It now leaves Askey with a welcome selection dilemma for Saturday’s match away at Macclesfield Town. Gibbons has arguably been one of Vale’s outstanding performers this season and will expect to get his place back on the right side of defence. However, Askey may now opt to play Atkinson in midfield adding: “It is always nice to have those decisions. But his preferred position is centre midfield.”

You could see the quality when he was on the ball. I thought he played really well in a position that’s not familiar to him…

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Atkinson also provides Vale with welcome competition after they were hit with injuries to Manny Oyeleke, Tom Conlon and Callum Evans – injuries that without Atkinson’s signing would have severely restricted their central midfield choices.

The match on Saturday represented Atkinson’s second “debut” for the club some eleven years after he appeared for the Valiants on loan from Hull City.

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