From The Opposition: Port Vale

Ahead of tonight’s clash at Vale Park, I chatted to Vale fan Martin Masom about his teams’ chances on and off the pitch…

There’s been plenty of off the field activity going on with takeovers and the like…what’s been going on and do you think it’s affected the on the pitch performances so far?

MM: Too much off the field news this year for us, though hopefully that’s coming to an end for the moment and all the news and headlines will be about the players, the team and the games rather than the board, the fans protest groups and takeovers. All the off the field stories definitely impacted the performances in the second half of last season, along with changing managers twice, but I dont think it’s had much impact on performances this season I’m happy to say, and looking forward to that being fully the case going forward.

How was your summer in the transfer market and which new signings are making the biggest impression so far?

MM: It was a fairly quiet summer in the transfer market for us with just a few signings and most of those being youngsters who havent played yet. Only a couple of the summer arrivals have played, and those have only been for a few games, so of those Ben Williamson has made most impact with a couple of goals and some good lively play, looks like a promising player.

Was it a mistake letting Justin Richards go considering his exploits for Burton so far?

MM: On the face of it, it looks like yes, as 9 goals already this season speaks for itself, however it would look much worse if we were struggling for goals and not finding the net, but as we’re the leading scorers in the division, its the other end of the pitch where our problems have been.

I have to ask about former Cobbler Marc Richards…how’s he getting on?

MM: He’s been our leading scorer the last 2 seasons with 20+ goals, and already has 4 this season despite only playing 5 games so far due to injury and a 3 game suspension, so he’s doing great.

Has the signing of another former Town player, Liam Chilvers, shored up your defence?

MM: We have definitely improved defensively in the last 3 games since we signed Liam and Rob Kozluk, only 2 goals conceded, one of which was a penalty compared to 16 goals against in the preceding 9 games. Looks steady without being a world beater, and if we can maintain our scoring record while shoring up the defence, we’ll be looking at climbing up the table.

Who will be your key man on Friday?

MM: Key man on Friday has to be Marc Richards, 3 goals in last 2 games since return to team, we’ll be looking for more.

Finally…a score prediction for the game?
MM: Predict 2-1 to Vale, clean sheets are hard to come by for us, but going forward we’re looking like a threat.

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