Preview: Luton Town v Port Vale
One could argue that Vale have reached a crisis point as they travel to Bedfordshire looking for a change of fortune that could potentially kick-start their season.
In truth, not even a convincing victory at Kenilworth Road would get all of the doubters of the manager’s back, but it could just be the springboard needed right now.
No matter how you dress it up, five straight defeats without a single goal scored doesn’t make good reading, but a positive result against Luton Town – and that included a draw – could mark the beginning of a turnaround.
A defeat on the other hand, no matter how slender, no matter how unlucky, can only add to the pressure manager Michael Brown is under right now.
Injuries continue to damage Vale chances of not only fielding a settled side, but arguably putting out what is considered to be their best side.
There is no denying that the injury situation at the club, and perhaps in particular the injuries to the more senior players in the side does not help the cause.
Frontman Tyrone Barnett hadn’t started a game before Vale’s latest defeat, at the hands of Coventry City at the weekend, and in the same game, goalkeeper Rob Lainton was forced off with yet another injury that has dogged his season so far.
Rumour has it that Vale Physio, Ben Nixon, has requested a revolving door to be fitted to the treatment room, to help cope with all the comings and goings.
That isn’t to say Vale’s run of poor results is entirely down to the injury situation, there have been other factors too.
Some will point to what they perceive to be the manager’s tactical naivety, others will point out that Vale haven’t had the rub of the green and that lady luck is frowning in their direction.
There is no doubt that silly defensive mistakes at critical times have added to Vale’s woes, but whatever the reason for Vale’s demise, something has to change, and it has to change soon.
A defeat at Luton will further damage the manager’s reputation. Would he then still be in situ for Saturday’s home game against the side sitting two places above Vale in the League Two table?
If Vale do taste defeat for a sixth game in a row on Tuesday night and then fail to beat Forest Green Rovers at Vale Park this coming weekend, owner Norman Smurthwaite could well decide it is time to ‘pull the plug’.
Dave Johnson – 6TR