NEW Port Vale manager Darrell Clarke believes he’s working with a better squad at Vale Park than the one he left at Walsall ahead of the Valiants trip to Leyton Orient in Sky Bet League Two tomorrow afternoon.
Saturday’s match will be Clarke’s first in charge of his new side, having been appointed as John Askey’s successor earlier this week, with caretaker boss Danny Pugh assisting Clarke alongside former Vale striker Billy Paynter.
Clarke admits it has been a hectic week, but is solely focused on tomorrow’s game against an Orient side who won 3-2 in the reverse fixture at Vale Park back in November.
Clarke said: “The squad on paper here is better than the squad I’ve just left at Walsall, in my opinion, the message has been show me what you’ve got, it’s a big squad so opportunities might be limited.
“It’s been very, very hectic, it’s been positive, but a little bit of a whirlwind, it’s the first time I’ve joined a club at the back end of the season.
“We want to tweak one or two things and hopefully that freshness or something a little bit different will freshen the players up a little bit as well, I want to start off well, my focus is to try and beat Leyton Orient and we’ve been working on one or two things on the training ground.”
The 43-year-old wants to move the club in the right direction and has been impressed with the players following his arrival on Monday.
“The Port Vale fans are a very passionate group, it’s a club that’s underachieving given the size of the club and there’s an urgency to get things moving forward in the right direction.
“The intensity and work rate has been fantastic on the training pitch, as you’d expect with a new manager coming in, and there’s a good team spirit amongst the group.”
He also gave an update on Leon Legge’s future with the 35-year-old left out of the side in recent weeks and his contract set to expire at the end of the current campaign.
Clarke added: “Leon is a model professional for me, I’ve had a brief chat with him and we know where we stand, I have respect for the experienced players within the group, Leon will be assessed as any other player would be.”
Vale are nine places and six points behind their opponents in the League Two table and will be out for revenge at Brisbane Road tomorrow afternoon.