Neil Aspin hopes new additions can create competition at Port Vale

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Port Vale manager Neil Aspin hopes that the new additions he has made to his squad in the January transfer window can create competition for places as the Valiants attempt to secure their League Two status.

Speaking at his weekly news conference at Vale Park, ahead of their home fixture against Morecambe on Saturday, Aspin spoke of the process he had been through towards the latter stages of this year’s winter transfer window.

Vale were dealt a blow when centre back Tom Anderson was recalled by Premier League side Burnley to move on loan to League One outfit Doncaster Rovers on Monday.

Aspin however, strengthened his squad with the acquisitions of Callum Howe from Lincoln City and the loan signings of defenders Kyle Howkins, from West Bromwich Albion, and Charlie Raglan from Oxford United.

“When Tom Anderson was recalled that left us really short, with Gavin Gunning going as well, we were in a difficult time. So we needed to get players in and get them in quickly. I’d earmarked bringing in two but then the chance came up to bring a in third,” the Valiants chief said.

“At this stage of the season I’d rather have extra players than not enough and we got a chance to get another player in so we’ll take it then there’s more competition, then I’ll pick whoever deserves to play.”

Aspin stressed that he was not going to start ‘chopping and changing’ with team selection for upcoming games.

“You can forever keep changing things. You could go around and get in new faces every week but we need a bit of stability as well. I haven’t chopped and changed since I’ve come into the job and I don’t want to be chopping and changing from now until the end of the season. But there’s more competition and hopefully the players who have come in can strengthen things.

Aspin did admit he had not enjoyed the most fruitful of transfer windows, missing out on a number of targets, in particular a striker.

“You’d like to have competition in all places. We did try to bring in other players, not just defenders but as we all know trying to get a striker in, not only is it difficult but also there’s the expense [to consider]with the wages.

“With the defenders we’ve brought in, it’s not cost us a lot in terms of financially. We do need to start keeping clean sheets so there’s more competition in the defence. But that’s not to say that we haven’t tried to bring in players in other positions. For one reason or another it just hasn’t happened.”

Aspin and his side host fellow League Two strugglers Morecambe this Saturday at Vale Park, still looking for their first win of the year. Earlier in the season the Valiants travelled to the Globe Arena and recorded a 3-0 win over Saturday’s visitors. Tom Pope scored a brace before Christian Montano rounded off the game with a goal in added time to capture all three points.

The Port Vale chief is looking forward to the Morecambe clash but admitted at this stage in the season, it  doesn’t matter where points come from.

“Every game is important. You’ve got nine teams at the moment who are fighting to stay in the league, of which we are one of those teams. Every point is going to be important. Yes, we need to win games and we’d rather do that sooner rather than later but every game is as important as each other.”

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