After a frustrating few months with injury problems, Tyrone Barnett was delighted to be back playing first-team football on Tuesday night, despite the fact Vale bowed out of the Checkatrade Trophy.
The 32-year-old striker played the full game against Sky Bet League One outfit, Shrewsbury Town, and he insists it felt ‘great’ pulling on a Vale shirt again.
“It felt great for me, and although we lost, I enjoyed tonight because it was my first game for a while,” said Barnett.
“Hopefully I can build on that, get in the squad for Saturday and help the team out when I’m needed.”
Another positive for Vale was the return of Ben Whitfield following a six-week spell on the sidelines due to an ankle injury.
The on-loan AFC Bournemouth man came on as a substitute after 63 minutes and Barnett was happy to see him playing again, hailing Whitfield as a ‘great asset’ to the squad.
He said: “It was great to see him come back, he’s been out for a while with a difficult injury and he was buzzing to get back out there.
“He’s a great asset to the club so hopefully he will get back fit and raring just like he was before he got injured.
“He’s a very good player with bundles of energy and the top three lads he likes to play with have that to get around a central striker.
“It’s all important for him, Marcus [Harness], Monty [Cristian Montano] and David Worrall to have energy when they’re going forward.
“Ben is one of those players so it will be great to have him back in the side.”
Despite the result not going Vale’s way against Shrewsbury, Barnett was pleased with the way the team performed against strong opposition.
Barnett himself, Billy Reeves, Tyler Denton and Marcus Harness all came into the side and the striker believes that the Valiants were unlucky not to progress.
“I think as a whole we played very well,” he said.
“We contained them in the first half and they didn’t really have much. We blocked all their through balls and we overran them a bit in the first half.
“In the second half, Shrewsbury held the ball up a bit better and they had more possession. They’re at the top end of League One, they’re going to create chances and they took them."