Striker Ajay Leitch-Smith made his Vale Park debut last night in a come-from-behind win against League Two new boys Notts County.
a selection headache going in to the new season.the gafferThe striker bagged himself another 30 minutes of pre-season action in an attempt to link-up further with his new teammates, as well as giving
Speaking to the press, Leitch-Smith was jubilant with his new contract at the Valiants and joked: “It’s close to home so that’s always a bonus. It always helps when they’re on your doorstep, especially when my last club was four hours away.”
The striker then added on a more serious note: “Port Vale have always been a big club so there wasn’t much thinking to do. I’m glad to finally get signed now and I’m excited for the new season.”
During his 30 minutes on the pitch, the ex-Yeovil and Crewe man looked spritely in his movement and linked up well with fan favourite Louis Dodds, creating multiple chances.
When asked about the number 10, he said: “We linked up well in the last game also, and it looks like we work off each other quite well, so I’m looking forward to that partnership.”
Their link-up play is something that Vale fans should definitely be looking forward to come the new season.
His new team mates seem to be one of two aspects that is building his somewhat depleted confidence after a disappointing campaign last year with The Glovers.
“Yes I was lacking in confidence slightly because we didn’t have the best of years last year at Yeovil," he added.
"But now I’m here and I’m enjoying myself, so hopefully I can get a few goals and get going again.”
Another confidence boost for him came in the shape of his new manager.
“He’s the main reason why I wanted to sign for the club. He put an arm round me as soon as I came in and looked after me," he continued
"He encouraged me every single day which is exactly what I’m looking for.”
After further increasing his pitch time during pre-season, Leitch-Smith thinks he is in a good place regarding fitness and the looming new season.
He said: “I’ve looked after myself well over the summer, I’ve done what I’ve needed to do and hopefully I’ll be match fit soon.”
However, he thinks that not only his, but his team-mates engines will be put to the test this Saturday against visiting La Liga giants Getafe.
“Spanish teams are renowned for keeping the ball and moving the ball, it’ll be a big test," he added.
With the 2015-2016 season creeping ever closer, Leitch-Smith looks forward to the opening day with his new team-mates, as well as his old.
The Valiants face a trip away at Gresty Road against Crewe Alexandra, a stadium, fan-base and team the Leitch-Smith is no stranger to.
“Yes, it will be interesting, there’s quite a few players still there as well. It will be a good day," he concluded.