Port Vale have completed the signing of 20-year-old Lewis Hardcastle on a season-long loan from Blackburn Rovers, and Neil Aspin is very pleased having brought in “younger legs”.
Hardcastle is a hard-tackling central midfielder who can play in both attacking and defensive roles in the heart of the midfield.
Having progressed through the academy at Blackburn Rovers, Hardcastle became a predominant figure in the under-23 squad and went onto make 33 appearances for Blackburn’s development squad, including three showings in the Checkatrade Trophy.
Aspin has expressed his delight having brought in the young midfielder.
He said: “He’s a player that I’ve watched a few years ago when he was on loan at Salford, when he was a young lad.
“He’s obviously been someone that I’ve kept an eye on.
“It was mainly the fact that, especially in Saturday’s game, I felt that with the two injuries we’ve had to midfield players and not having any younger legs in there, I felt that we needed to get somebody who would be younger and more energetic to get about the pitch.”
Aspin has also announced the return of Ben Whitfield to Vale Park - this time as a permanent signing.
Whitfield enjoyed a successful year with the Valiants during the 2017/18 season, appearing 37 times scoring four goals, and the 22-year-old quickly became a fan's favourite.
The former loanee has signed a two-year permanent deal with the club, keeping him at Vale Park until 2020.
Aspin believes the former Bournemouth man can be a huge asset to his side once again.
He said: “We’ve had numerous discussions on Ben and my position has never changed.
“The Ben Whitfield that played when I joined, certainly through December, did very well. He was an asset to the team and worked exceptionally hard.
“The chairman has always been very keen to bring him back to the club. I wanted to meet with Ben and his father first to speak to them.
“As far as I’m concerned it’s a fresh start and he will be considered like all of the other players for a place in the team.”