Following Port Vale’s League Two win over Exeter City, Rob Fielding brings up six points which arose after the final whistle.
This is not a comprehensive list and you may not agree with our choices. If you don’t scroll to the bottom of this feature and click on the button to have your say (or add questions of your own) on the dedicated forum thread.
Conlon looks indispensable to Valiants
There’s competition all over this Vale squad with even Scott Brown facing a fight for his place. However, despite a congested midfield, I would doubt if John Askey would even consider resting Tom Conlon. After an impressive pre-season, Conlon has been Port Vale’s best player so far this League Two season. Aggressive in the tackle, skilful with his passing and with an eye for a goal, he looks like a complete central midfielder. Aged just 24, he also has time to get even better…
Wide or central, Rodney is a threat
It’s easy to see why John Askey may persist with Devante Rodney out wide. His pace and power caused Exeter defenders all sorts of problems on Saturday. However, when he was switched to the centre, he broke clear to score his first Vale goal? So, where to play him? I would imagine that John Askey (after handing him that three year deal) doesn’t think the player is yet ready for a full 90 minutes in the centre and that time may come in the future. Perhaps the choice doesn’t actually matter too much at the moment. Rodney’s ability to play in several positions and that of other players such as Cristian Montano means that Askey can switch formations without even needing to bring on subs. One thing is for sure, Rodney looks a potent threat wherever he plays.
Incident free return for Oyeleke
I’m sure it was a relief for the player, manager, staff and fans to see Manny Oyeleke come through his latest return to League Two football. After all his injury woes, a fit Oyeleke can be a real asset to the club and everyone will be hoping to see more of him in the Vale starting eleven. He will have to be managed carefully, something John Askey excels at, so he can’t expect to feature all the time, but when he does he will make a massive difference.
Even without Jake Taylor, Vale’s midfield has an embarrassment of riches
Some fans felt that the team may miss Jake Taylor’s goals from midfield. Not yet they haven’t. Tom Conlon scored a few in pre-season and is now off the mark in the season. Danny Whitehead also scored in midweek while Scott Burgess netted five last season. And that’s not including fit again Manny Oyeleke. It was telling that on Saturday, Scott Burgess (pictured), a key player in the second-half of last season didn’t even get off the bench. Burgess will no doubt get his chance but neither he or any of his midfield team mates is guaranteed a start. That competition can only spur players on to further raise their game.
Players who also deserve a mention…
Some of this will sound like a broken record but it’s worth noting the contribution of the whole Port Vale side… defender Leon Legge was immense and ran Tom Conlon close as man of the match. His aerial supremacy over Ryan Bowman was completely dominant. Luke Joyce purred through his holding midfield role like the thoroughbred he is. Scott Brown pulled off a couple of magnificent saves. But let’s also mention the relatively unsung full-backs… David Fitzpatrick (pictured) was solid and reliable on the left and looks to be getting better as his fitness improves. Partner Zak Mills was a threat further up the field as he supported David Worrall. The pair has now kept two clean sheets and look to be great summer additions.
All this with three ‘key’ players missing
Finally, it’s worth pointing out that James Gibbons, David Amoo (pictured) and Tom Pope missed this game. On another week, all three may be considered starters. It shows the massive depth of the squad that Vale still had a strong bench on Saturday (in other seasons Montano, Whitehead and Robinson would be starters) and the team still performed excellently even in the trio’s absence.
Are there any we’ve missed?
Have we missed a point? Is there another question to address? You can chip in with your comments and questions on the forum. Click on the button below: