Ahead of Vale’s away fixture at Barnet on Saturday 3rd March 2018, Neil Aspin provides an update on the fitness of his squad as he speaks to the club.
Captain and talismanic striker Tom Pope was top of that list as he may perhaps face a spell on the sideline.
Aspin shed some light on the fitness of the number nine: “At this moment in time I can’t say whether he will be fit for Saturday. In terms of training he will have to do very little and we will have to decide whether we can risk him on Saturday.
“Whatever Tom [Pope] says, he would play for the club if he is injured or not. But the team’s performance has not been great and Tom’s not been at the level that he was because he is not fully fit.
“I will have to take control because I will need to make a decision where we can get him in a position where he plays some games where he will be fully fit – we’re very close to having to make that decision.”
Despite the possibility of losing his main source of goals, Aspin looks at the situation as a good time for someone else to step up and carry the team forward: “You can dress things up, but without being disrespectful, there are a lot of forward players at the club who have to do more, who have not done enough this season, who have got to start doing more in terms of chipping in with goals and work rate and effort.
“Surely they have got to look to themselves and think why I am not in the team when I have a 32-year old striker playing on one leg. The onus has now got be down to the other players at the club in terms of strikers to start producing some performances in training, but more importantly on the pitch.”
The injury woes don’t end with the 16-goal striker, as goalkeeper Rob Lainton faces another spell in the treatment room, which means that on-loan Sam Hornby has been recalled from his extended stay at the Deva Stadium: “The problem is that Rob [Lainton] didn’t play in the reserves last week because he had a problem with his hip.
“I wanted him to play in the reserves tomorrow but the physio has informed me today that he needs to go for a scan.
“So if he is going to be on the bench he obviously needs to be fully fit, which he isn’t, so we need to recall Sam put him on the bench and let him play in the reserves."