Defence desperately needs changes – Rob Fielding shares his thoughts after another gloomy Saturday afternoon for the Valiants.
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Vale’s leaky defence desperately needs changes
That’s seven goals conceded in the last two away games. It’s eleven games without a cleansheet (and that includes games against Kings Lynn Town, Liverpool U21 and Wolves U21). There’s not much more to add other than it’s clearly unacceptable and things have to change. No-one is undroppable. Manager John Askey suggested as much in his post-match comments and surely there has to be changes at both centre-half and right-back for the next game? I would imagine Shaun Brisley and Adam Crookes will both start the next game but after a shaky display by Zak Mills will Askey bring Mitch Clark back from the cold as well?
Is the season over already?
I thought BBC Radio Stoke summariser Phil Sproson summed it up perfectly (which after all is what a summariser should do). Sproson said that you can forget the League Two play-offs if you’re conceding four goals a game. He’s right and with the FA Cup exit as well, this season looks to already be over for Vale. The bigger question is whether Port Vale’s owners stick with the Askey long-term plan or decide the only way to bring success is to make a change.
Small mercies but there were a few positives…
OK, it was an awful game for the defence but there were bright points elsewhere. Tom Pope showed his goal instincts in the lone striker’s role, Tom Conlon’s free-kicks are a potent weapon, Devante Rodney showed he could score tap-ins and not just long-range screamers, Alex Hurst showed promise on the wing once again. None of them make the defeat any less bitter but at least there’s a few positive things that Port Vale can take from it…
What now for Port Vale and John Askey?
I thought that by now, Port Vale have had enough horror seasons. We’ve had to endure Ribeiro, Brown and Aspin in recent years. Many of us had high hopes that those days were behind us and Vale would start to make steady, positive progress. Sadly, it was not to be this season and with one win in nine League games, we’re back to the “crisis club” times. John Askey looks to be a good, decent man but after this awful run there has to be questions about whether he is the right man for this job. His summer signings haven’t impressed. It’s an ageing squad. There’s a ‘forced’ rigidity to the 4-3-3 formation. Will Port Vale owners stick or twist? It’s a big question and one which could define the club’s direction in the coming years.