Ahead of Saturday’s clash with Port Vale at Adams Park, Vital Port Vale editor Tom answers a few questions for us.
It’s been a bit of a rough patch for Vale since we last played you, do you think that’s solely down to losing Micky Adams?
Mainly, yes. It was a huge blow, and the subsequent upheaval has had a huge knock on effect. We were top of the league in mid December and everyone felt confident of a least a playoff spot. Since then, Adams has gone, we have had injuries and suspensions to key players and some major developments off the pitch regards investment.
Are the Vale fans pleased with the appointment of Jim Gannon?
The jury is very much out, but in a word, no!! He came in like a bull in a china shop, ripped up everything Adams had achieved, has fallen out with key players such as Gary Roberts, told the players they weren’t good enough for promotion, completely changed the style of play and upset the fans. Before the Rotherham game midweek there was reportedly a players’ revolt against him, and rumours were abound that Gannon was about to be placed on gardening leave, but amazingly we then produced our best performance for ages! Hopefully, some issues have now been resolved.
Has Gannon changed your playing style?
Massively. We had a committed group of players who played 4-4-2, were fit, strong and well organised, with a little bit of added quality in Marc Richards and Roberts. Gannon favours a 4-2-3-1 formation, and in my opinion has been too idealistic and not pragmatic enough. The players we have had available in his time at the club weren’t able to adopt that system. Playing two defensive midfielders and one striker at home to Barnet isn’t going to win you friends, or points!
Do you expect to surge back into the top-three or would the fans be happy with a play-off spot?
Personally, I’d take a playoff spot at the moment. Hopefully, things will settle down a little as they both get to know each other more, but it’s very much wait and see at the minute. When Marc Richards is fit again we will get a better idea.
Having played all the other teams now, who do you fancy for the top three places?
I felt you were one of the best sides at Vale this season and Chesterfield seem to be running away with it. Should we lose at the weekend it looks as if quite a number of teams will be fighting it out for third place. Having seen Rotherham in the week, I’m not sure they will win enough away games playing that system to win automatic promotion.
What’s been your highlight of the season so far?
Beating Shrewsbury in late September, we went top of the League in front of over 8,500 fans. That seems a very long time ago now!
What’s been your worst experience?
The derby defeat at Crewe a couple of weeks ago. A really soul destroying day. A terrible performance, baffling tactics from Gannon, and a huge dressing room fall out after the game. Plus Gary Speed getting the Wales job.
Take a guess at Saturday’s final score?
2-1 Wycombe. I think we’ll turn in a decent performance, but no doubt Mr Ainsworth will spoil our day!