Port Vale bolstered their ranks with four new additions on transfer deadline day, despite the remaining uncertainty over their vacant managerial position.
Callum Whelan, Toby Edser and Kyle Howkins all agreed loan deals at Vale Park till the end of the season, whilst former Crewe Alexandra academy graduate Daniel Trickett-Smith moved to the club on a permanent basis from local club Leek Town.
‘The signings come as a welcome relief for Vale supporters, who have endured a few tough weeks with the departure of Neil Aspin and their side’s recent form dragging them down the Sky Bet League Two table.
Edser arrives from Nottingham Forest having spent three months of the season at National League side Woking, where the 19-year-old assisted the Cardinals passage to their first FA Cup third round tie in 22 years.
The talented central midfielder is held in high regard at the City Ground and played a pivotal role in guiding the Forest Under-18’s team to the league title during the 2015-16 season.
An astute and talented ball distributor, Edser has the ability to unlock defences and provides some much-needed service for a Vale strike force that have recently been starved of any clear-cut opportunities.Whelan is another arrival who will be of a significant boost to the Valiants’ midfield department. The 20-year-old joins Vale Park having made his breakthrough into the Manchester United Under-23’s side under the guidance of Ricky Sbragia.
The skilful midfield operator, who was shortlisted for the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year award in 2017, makes his first loan move away from United.
The final loan signing saw the return of Howkins from West Bromwich Albion, who joins the Valiants for a second spell following his previous time at the club last season.
The centre-back was a valuable asset during Vale’s 2017/18 survival campaign, and the defender will be a welcome boost to aid the clubs recent defensive woes.
The one permanent signing Vale made was the acquisition of Trickett-Smith from Leek Town, with the striker being sent back out on loan to the Northern Premier League Division One side for the remainder of the season.
The striker had been destined for great things after Liverpool beat off competition from Manchester City to acquire the services of the then 16-year-old from Crewe, but the striker’s career path took an unusual diversion as he made the move across the pond to join Sacramento Republic FC – a third tier American side.
A year passed before Trickett-Smith returned home to sign for his local side Leek Town under the observation of his former Crewe coach Neil Baker. And the 23-year-old seems to have benefitted as he attempts to recover his faltered professional career, and the forward arrives at Vale Park with a point to prove.