It was a disappointing Saturday for the Valiants at Morecambe but here are six thoughts from Rob Fielding after the final whistle.
Create more chances
I have to agree with John Askey’s comments that the side need to create more chances. For all their possession, Vale need to score and it will telling on Saturday that the best chance fell to centre-half Leon Legge (pictured) not a forward. The set plays were wasteful at Morecambe – Tom Conlon blazed a promising free-kick over and several corners appeared to be training ground routines gone wrong.
Whitehead moves up the pecking order?
I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen of summer signing Danny Whitehead. He brings energy and speed to the midfield. If Manny Oyeleke continues to be hit by injury I would personally start Whitehead before Scott Burgess who seems to be a bit off the boil. Burgess’ time will surely come but for me Whitehead is ahead of him in the starting order.
It’s perhaps easiser to say in hindsight but for me this was a game tailor made for Tom Pope to come on as sub and shake it up. Either that or move the more physical Devante Rodney to the centre in place of Mark Cullen. Cullen battled hard but an “agricultural” Morecambe defence were taking no prisoners. It seemed a “horses for courses” game and for me the more powerful Rodney and Pope were better central choices.
A sad 500th for Scott Brown
He’s undoubtedly the best keeper since Mark Goodlad and veteran Scott Brown showed his class with yet another stunning save just after the break. So, it was disappointing that Vale lost their run of clean sheets and went down to defeat on a notable day for the keeper. Knowing him, he’s bound to take it in his stride and bounce right back.
Positive note #1 – squad depth
I think it’s good to finish a defeat with a couple of positives so here’s the first. Despite Vale missing three players in Smith, Mills and Oyeleke, their squad is so strong these days that they were still able to name a strong bench and recent signing Harry McKirdy (pictured) couldn’t even get on the bench. During other seasons the loss of three players would have seen the club reduced to the bare bones.
Positive note #2 – the return of Gibbo
Ending on a second positive note, it was at least nice to see the first James Gibbons surging runs of the season. The attacking right-back adds much to Port Vale’s forward strength and it was great to see him back in the starting eleven.