The Sentinel - - FOOTBALL - Michael Bag­ga­ley

“IF noth­ing else works, a to­tal pig-headed un­will­ing­ness to look facts in the face will see us through”.

It seemed as though Port Vale’s score­board might be tak­ing in­spi­ra­tion from Black­ad­der’s Gen­eral Melchett when it stub­bornly dis­played Port Vale 0, Colch­ester 0, show­ing the time but re­fus­ing to ac­knowl­edge ei­ther of the vis­i­tors’ open­ing two goals.

To be fair, this didn’t last for the whole game. With 25 min­utes to go, the score­board conked out com­pletely which prob­a­bly bet­ter cap­tured fans’ fears of what might be hap­pen­ing to their club.

This 3-0 de­feat left Vale just five points clear of the bot­tom two and per­haps only Melchett him­self would deny the Valiants are in a rel­e­ga­tion scrap for a third suc­ces­sive sea­son.

The first one was lost as Vale crashed into League Two. Last year’s was won as the Vale stayed in the Foot­ball League by a sin­gle point. Frankly, who knows where this one will end?

Fans don’t al­ways agree with Neil Aspin, to say the least, but the man­ager is not de­luded. Are Vale in a rel­e­ga­tion bat­tle?

He said: “The ta­ble doesn’t lie and if you are not win­ning games then of course you are in a rel­e­ga­tion fight. If you just say you’re not then

port vale

that’s no good. We are in a rel­e­ga­tion fight be­cause we are not win­ning games and if other teams are win­ning then you get dragged into it.

“We all know what the score is in foot­ball.

“You have to win games and get points. We are not do­ing that and when things are not go­ing well you then pick up in­juries. Tom Pope has a ham­string. I know some peo­ple ques­tion my de­ci­sions at times, but I am not go­ing to take off Popey un­less he is in­jured.

“Mitch Clark got in­jured as well so, no luck what­so­ever on any front.”

Those in­juries, which forced Pope and Clark off dur­ing the sec­ond half, will be as­sessed this week.

But the last thing the Vale need is a weak­ened squad just as Aspin is try­ing to strengthen it.

The Vale are ex­pected to com­plete the sign­ing of tri­al­ist for­ward Danny El­liott, are clos­ing in on a left-sided de­fender on loan and are also try­ing to bring in a striker.

Aspin wants a min­i­mum of three new play­ers and has made space in his squad as Idris Kanu, Scott Quigley and Lewis Hard­cas­tle have had their loan deals cut short, while Ty­rone Bar­nett and Bren­don Daniels have left the club on free trans­fers.

Mean­while, Dior An­gus, who has spent the first half of the sea­son on loan at Nuneaton in the Na­tional League North, is set to go out on loan again, this time in the next divi­sion up in the Na­tional League.

That’s one divi­sion below the Vale - if sea­son-ticket hold­ers want to add ‘for now’ at this point, well that’s

PAIN GAME: Leon Legge shows his de­jec­tion as Colch­ester cel­e­brate their third goal of the af­ter­noon. Pic­tures: Ger­ard Austin

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