Rob Fielding shares his thoughts on a hugely disappointing Tuesday night defeat for the Valiants.
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The never ending story of Vale’s lack of cutting edge
It’s starting to get boring but if Vale could only get goals from their good approach work then they wouldn’t be in the situation they are right now. Mark Cullen looked an isolated figure on Tuesday night but he’s not the only one – it was a similar story for Tom Pope on Saturday. So, it’s perhaps not the personel but the formation or tactics which is causing this problem. Whatever is causing it, Vale need to sort it out, quickly, before it curtails any chance of a promotion push.
A side devoid of confidence?
This was a really dispiriting Port Vale performance. Where was the dynamic play we can sometimes see from the likes of Mitch Clark, David Worrall or Tom Conlon? Port Vale looked a bit shell-shocked and unable to rise to the challenge of taking the game by the scruff of the neck and getting something out of it. It looked a slog and Vale look a side seriously short of confidence. It’s a worrying sign.
Keep faith or wholesale changes?
It will be interesting to see how John Askey reacts to this game. He gave a fair bit of game time to subs McKirdy, Rodney and Montano. McKirdy, in particular, looked lively. Will Askey opt to start any of them? Will he start all of them? Or will he continue to keep faith with the tried and trusted regular starting eleven. I would argue that as per my previous point, Vale look devoid of confidence and now is perhaps the time to spark a reaction with a rotation of who’s in the starting eleven. On this performance, no-one’s place in the starting eleven should be guaranteed.
Perhaps a good job there were no fans allowed in
It goes without saying that this result was another huge disappointment. It’s two poor home defeats in a row for the Valiants. Judging by the mood of the Lorne Street on a good day perhaps it’s a good job there were no Port Vale fans allowed into the stadium on Tuesday evening!
Oyeleke offers another option in midfield
I’ll try and end on a positive note.
I’m a Luke Joyce fan and I think his steady holding role is sometimes underestimated. However, Manny Oyeleke offers a different dynamic to Joyce. Manny is far more likely to power his way through the centre to support an attack. He was one of the few bright spots from Tuesday night. Oyeleke can give another dimension to the Vale midfield and if he can shake off his injury issues, he could be the long-term replacement to Joyce in that position.