Port Vale’s James Gibbons: “It’s been a very frustrating month.”

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Frustrated Port Vale defender James Gibbons is hoping that he will play in Saturday’s League Two game against Oldham Athletic, so he can put a frustrating month behind him.

The Trentham-born full-back lost his place in the side due to inconsistencies in his performances at the start of the season and then suffered a hip injury which took him out of action for a few weeks.

However, he recently made his return to the side in the 2-0 Checkatrade Trophy win at Vale Park against Middlesbrough on Tuesday night, where he played 45 minutes.

He said: “It would be great to get the nod for Saturday because when you are injured you just want to get back fit and into the side so hopefully I have proved in the 45 minutes on Tuesday that I have done enough to get into the side again.

“I had a slight tear in my hip, so I went for a scan and went to see a specialist to get a few injections in there.

“The injection cleared it all, but I have still got to do all my programme with the physio and strengthening work to get back fully fit, so the injury doesn’t come back again.

“It is just a little niggly one and I think they are the worst ones because you know it’s there, but it is not serious.

“However, you know it’s still there every time for instance when you are running, so I am glad I had the injection to clear it up.”

Despite his injury set back, the 20-year-old is thinking positively, and the club’s Young Player of the Year wants to build momentum going into the mid-way point of the season.

He said: “It’s been a very frustrating month because I had come off the back of a good year last season.

“I had to keep the momentum going but I did have a slight dip in form this season and I got taken out of the team which is fair enough.

“Mitch (Clark) came in as well which is good competition, so as a footballer I think you have to have the right mindset and positivity to just believe that you are going to get back into the side again.”

The youth graduate has made 34 appearances since then caretaker managers Chris Morgan and David Kelly handed him his debut over a year ago and he is happy to be playing his football at the club.

“I am more than happy because the plan for me that year was to go out on loan and then I made my debut and obviously got a good run in the side.

“It was a great season for me in that sense because the plan for me really wasn’t to get any minutes.”

Gibbons, Clark and Connell Rawlinson have all played in the right-back position this season, but James was delighted with manager Neil Aspin after he told him he was still in his plans.

“He pulled me into his office not long ago and told me what he thinks and that I am still in his plans and all that which is what you expect.

“I would rather he pulled me in and tell me like he did so I am happy that he has done that.”

The Valiants return to league action at Oldham Athletic tomorrow, kick-off 15.00.

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