Port Vale caretaker manager Michael Brown has admitted that the club’s current struggles in League One are “not rocket science”.
The 40-year-old has been in temporary charge of The Valiants since the departure of Bruno Ribiero in December and has been handed the challenge of steering the club away from the relegation zone.
Brown admitted that the summer recruitment policy has been one of the main reasons behind the poor results this campaign. In pre-season, Ribiero invested heavily in signing young players from the continent with a focus on quantity rather than quality. With so many new faces, many of whom had never experienced the rigours of English football before, Brown told the Stoke Sentinel that the club’s current predicament comes as little surprise to him:
“We had 15 players who had never played in the league before. So, we know what we were heading towards and we knew we had a difficult window. We lost two of our best players. It’s not rocket science is it?”
The January transfer window saw the high-profile departures of Alex Jones, Anthony Grant and Jak Alnwick with Vale having to bring in inexperienced young players on loan in order to act as short-term replacements. However, Brown believes that his youthful side will turn the corner and that patience is needed. He has also highlighted the example set by academy graduate Nathan Smith, who has been one of the club’s most consistent performers this season despite having only made his Football League debut at the start of the campaign.
“It is very difficult, a lot of these boys have not played football. That is what we have got and we have to teach them and show them the ropes and try to guide them as best we can”
“He [Smith] was great again. He cramped up, he hadn’t trained in the week but he was still looking over and saying ‘I’m ok, I am there to stay, leave me where I am’. That is the desire we need.”
Port Vale captain Ben Purkiss has spoken out in support of caretaker manager Michael Brown and made it clear that he believes that the club’s current problems were due to the previous managerial regime.
The Valiants currently sit in 19th place in League One, just four points above the relegation zone, and have won just two of their previous sixteen league fixtures. The threat of dropping into the fourth tier of English football is suddenly a very realistic possibility but Purkiss believes that Brown and his staff are working hard to correct issues that they inherited from the previous manager, Bruno Ribeiro.
The Portuguese coach resigned on Boxing Day following a poor run of results and Purkiss told the Stoke Sentinel that the team were ill-prepared for the season under the previous regime.
“It has been really difficult for the coaches coming in to drag us from where we were. People in comfort zones, people not fit enough. I felt pre-season was poor. I didn’t think the lads were conditioned at all to approach the games and I think that has probably been reflected in performances”.
Brown has won just one of his five league games since stepping in as caretaker manager and has been forced to endure a challenging transfer window that saw a number of Vale’s most influential players depart from the club. However, Purkiss revealed that the new manager is working hard to correct the club’s current problems.
“Everyone knows the situation … trust me the work people have put in over the past three or four weeks. We have been reaping the rewards from that in terms of the performances and the energy on the pitch”.
Despite the current run of poor form and the home defeat against Peterborough at the weekend, there is a feeling amongst the supporters and those within the club that Brown is doing the best that he can considering the situation he inherited.
Joe Slinn is the latest Port Vale academy graduate to sign a professional contract with The Valiants as the club continue their recent record of bringing young players through the youth ranks and into the first team picture.
The goalkeeper has signed an eighteen-month contract with an option for a further year.
Slinn follows in the footsteps of the likes of Nathan Smith and Dan Turner in progressing through the Vale academy system to sign professional terms with the club, although he is not expected to be in immediate contention for a first team place. He is also one in a growing list of young goalkeeping talent that The Valiants have produced in the last decade with Chris Martin, Joe Anyon, Sam Johnson, Ryan Boot and Harry Pickering all progressing through the youth ranks within the last ten years.
It is further evidence that Port Vale’s academy is flourishing under the stewardship of Sevvy Aslam and the development of home-grown talent is thought to be a high priority for chairman Norman Smurthwaite.
On-loan Port Vale goalkeeper Sam Johnson was named as man of the match for his outstanding performance for Halifax Town over the weekend. The 24-year-old saved a penalty and kept a clean sheet as his side beat Altrincham 1-0.
Ryan Lloyd did not feature for Chester this weekend after being omitted from the matchday squad due to illness. The 22-year-old Vale loanee has been a consistent performer for the National League side this campaign.
Billy Reeves made his debut for Stafford Rangers after joining on loan for the remainder of the season. The young Valiant was a second-half substitute but could not prevent his side losing 2-1 against Buxton.
- Port Vale chairman Norman Smurthwaite is continuing the club’s search for a new striker – via Twitter. The Valiants’ supremo sent a public message to former United States international Freddy Adu asking the free agent if he would like to “fancy coming over to the UK and play in LG1”. (Stoke Sentinel).
- Port Vale’s fixture with Shrewsbury Town has been moved to Friday 17th March (7:45 pm kick off). (Club Website).
- Port Vale have revealed that they are extending the deadline for their season-ticket instalment scheme. Supporters now have until the end of February to secure their 2017/18 season ticket if they wish to pay through monthly instalments. (Stoke Sentinel).
Featured Image: All Rights Reserved Ben Stanley-Clarke (Ben Stanley-Clarke)