Rob Fielding says that strong performances from youngsters Scott Burgess and Jake Taylor could see them both establish regular starting places in midfield.
Rob Fielding writes…
At the start of the game against Leyton Orient, many Vale fans would arguably be most pleased about seeing midfielder Manny Oyeleke back in the starting eleven. However, the dynamic midfielder has been hit by injuries throughout his Vale career and lasted just nine minutes of his latest comeback before being replaced.
In contrast, until a week ago, Scott Burgess’ Vale career amounted to zero minutes and a suggestion from manager John Askey that a loan move could be a good option. What a difference seven days makes! Burgess now has two Vale appearances and two goals to his name.
The former Bury man had already made an impressive full debut in the Football League Trophy win over Macclesfield Town. Burgess had scored a fine goal and had linked up well with fellow youngster Jake Taylor, who also netted. The young Nottingham Forest midfielder has slotted in seamlessly and has the potential to have the same impact as loanee Mitch Clark had last season.
Orient saw a repeat of Taylor’s partnership with Burgess once Oyeleke departed and just like Macclesfield, both the central midfielders scored for the second game in a row. For a side which has long been too dependent on the goals of Tom Pope, these strikes from midfield, along with recent goals from defenders Smith and Legge offer hope of a more prolific Port Vale side with goals coming from multiple sources.
The partnership of youngsters Burgess and Taylor may have arisen due to circumstances but it’s already won deserved praise. With veteran Luke Joyce providing cover at the back, the young duo have linked up well in more advanced positions. After four goals in two games and strong performances, both deserve a chance to maintain their starting places for the visit of Morecambe. The partnership may even last longer if they continue to impress. The next time Manny Oyeleke is fit, he may face a tough battle to regain his starting place and the football club will be all the stronger for this renewed midfield competition.