What to do now? Rob Fielding says there are plenty of important questions which need to be addressed after yet another poor defeat for Port Vale.
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What to do now?
This was a result that prompts all sorts of questions… What to do to solve the problems in the last third? What to do to solve the defensive blunders? What formation should start? Which players should start? Even what to do with manager John Askey? Should the club keep confidence with him or make a change? It’s fair to say that Port Vale are in a right mess right now. Yes, they may need a lucky break but five straight defeats isn’t due to bad luck. For me, the formation is too rigid and teams have started to work Vale out. Combine that with players out of form and a general lack of confidence that a bad run creates then it’s going to be tough. Fingers crossed the Valiants can turn it round soon.
‘Keystone Cops’ defending
Vale’s defence has been the subject of scrutiny in recent weeks but it looked to have hit a new low on Saturday. There was awful defending for the first, even worse defending for the second and then a costly switch off in concentration for the third. Vale do not score many goals but if they didn’t find the target they could normally rely on the defence keeping things tight. Now that isn’t happening, Vale have problems at both ends of the pitch and games that the side could have scraped draws from are instead ending as defeats.
Monty has earned himself a start upfront
Probably the only positive from Saturday was the form of sub Cristian Montano. When David Amoo was injured early on, Vale must have been cursing as he’d been the focus of the early play. However, Montano did a decent job with some direct running at the defence and an excellent goal. Some may want him as full-back but his goal threat can offer assistance to a goal-shy frontline. Monty has averaged a goal every seven games – a record better than centre forward Theo Robinson has managed in the League this season.
Rodney not a centre forward yet
Devante Rodney is only 22 and will undoubtedly learn with experience. However, his central role on Saturday showed his current deficiencies playing in the middle. He has pace and power but his decision making and shooting can be awry. On Wednesday he scored a good goal from a wide position and that could be his best position now – the problem is that Vale have plenty of widemen but haven’t settled on a central forward. If Rodney is ruled out of that fight it leaves just veteran Tom Pope, injury-prone Mark Cullen and summer signing Theo Robinson as options.
Summer signings haven’t moved Vale on
I’ll admit, I thought that Vale had done decent business in the summer. But right now, it’s starting to unravel. I’m prepared to be patient when a player moves clubs but it’s seventeen games in and none have had an impact. Dino Visser is a quality back-up keeper but David Fitzpatrick hasn’t made the left-back slot his own. Danny Whitehead hasn’t had much of an impact through poor form and injury. Upfront, Theo Robinson hasn’t really clicked while Devante Rodney looks a work in progress, something Vale cannot afford during this crisis. After a bright start, loanee Mitch Clark’s surging runs have dried up while perhaps the most intriguing is Harry McKirdy who despite looking bright on occasions couldn’t even made the squad on Saturday. The lack of impact from the new men means Vale are effectively relying on last season’s squad minus dynamic loanee Jake Taylor.