Vale to beat Barnet, say the fans
We recently asked a selection of die-hard Vale supporters their opinions on things Vale-related
Gerard Austin, from Hartshill, is the club’s match photographer, a role he has undertaken for a number of years now. He attends all Vale’s home and away games.
Ally Simcock, from Stoke, is on the national council of the Football Supporters’ Council and is a support liaison officer at Port Vale and former Chair of the Supporters’ Club.
Eddie Jackson, from Oakhill, has followed the club man and boy and still attends all Port Vale games, home and away. He has also been a programme contributor and proof reader.
Dan Beech, from Burslem, is a Vale fan of 30 years and has assumed many roles at the club, including ball boy and programme seller.
Despite results picking up since the appointment of Neil Aspin, things are still a little too close for comfort around the foot of the table. How difficult a job has Aspin taken on
Gerard: It’s a massive job and maybe Vale could not have reckoned with the capability of others around them to also get some results. The pluses are that he has found formations to suit the players we have and proved that we had some decent players short on confidence
Ally: Aspin has taken on a huge job… but we all knew this. Whoever took over was going to struggle, we can’t change the side until January. To be fair, the results we have managed over the past few months have been more than we could have hoped for
Eddie: Given Vale’s desperate plight when he took over it would seem a hugely difficult job for Aspin but I always thought Vale were underperforming and that good management would soon improve things. The Aspin/Nogan/Brabin/Rudge team seems a strong one and has already impacted on our results and I expect this to continue
Dan: It is a very difficult job, the squad is unbalanced and is in need of a massive overhaul mainly to trim the numbers and strengthen key areas such as center midfield. Vale are by no means out of the woods yet.
How important is it that the manager can both offload players and bring in new players in January
Gerard: Daft as it may seem I don’t think we’re that far short and weren’t previously. We actually need to make sure we keep Ben Whitfield and offload the players that the manager doesn’t feel are in the frame for selection
Ally: I think we have all been awaiting the transfer window to some extent… however we have proven the players we have can do the business when necessary
Eddie: Extremely important. The squad is already too big and has been added to by Regis. Several players need to be moved on in January, either on loan or permanently. At the same time a couple of weak areas need to be improved
Dan: As mentioned in the previous answer it is essential that players that are not in the plans of the Manager are released for both the good of the club and the player to allow room for Aspin to bring in his own players.
Saturday’s home fixture against Barnet is a big game for both sides. What do you think the outcome will be?
Gerard: We’ve done better recently away from home so to pick up some more points at home would be welcome. We’ve done well with two successive cup victories at Vale Park but our overall home record is disappointing. A win for me. Probably 2-
Ally: I think we have the ability and personnel to win 2-0
Eddie: Many fixtures are described as ‘must win’ and at this early stage the Barnet game is in this category. They should not be written off as they have several players of experience and quality in the squad. These include striker John Akinde (always a favourite of mine)’ who scored 26 League goals last season but who has played only two games this season thanks to injury. As well as Akinde they have Jean Louis Akpa Akpro, speedy Jamal Campbell-Rice (torn us apart in the past), striker Dave Tarpey (very impressive in Maidenhead’s two FA Cup games against us), Curtis Weston and Alex Nicholls (seriously injured by John McCombe tackle in game against us). Having bigged up our opponents I am going to predict a 2-1 Vale win
Dan: Massive game, if the players have the same work rate as in the majority of previous games under Aspin it should be a positive result. Barnet have just changed managers which will give them a lift.
The return to fitness of Anton Forrester could prove vital to Vale’s chances this season. Is he now finally over his injuries
Gerard: He’s like a new player for us and is showing the ability he undoubtedly possesses. You hope he’s over those injuries so that he can score the goals to take us up the league.
Ally: We all hope so… he must hope so too!
Eddie: Forrester is a quality striker but I fear he will always be an injury worry.
Dan: The difference I have seen with Aspin is that players are not rushed back so hopefully with the way Forrester has been eased back in we can finally see the best of him.
Do you have anything else Vale-related you want to share with us
Gerard: It was the first visit to Rodney Parade last Friday. In interesting occasion. The ground is one on its own really but thankfully they’ve had a new playing surface that was eminently better than the last one. Disgraceful that it had to be played on the Friday. The 274 noisy Valiants were a credit but we’d have taken many more had it been on the Saturday
Ally: Everything is going so well at the moment, I’m keeping everything crossed for it to continue
Eddie: Given the small away followings we have often seen at Vale Park this season it was good to see 271 Vale fans at Newport last Friday for a night fixture, a round trip of about 280 miles from Stoke on Trent. It is easy to follow your team home and away when they are in a promotion campaign but so much more commendable when you are fighting relegation. Well done Vale fans for turning up and giving strong vocal support
Dan: Chris Regis looks to be a rough diamond, plucked from obscurity which looks like a typical John Rudge signing of old, hopefully this is a trend that will continue that may lead to a good revenue stream in the future.
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