Following his red card away to Yeovil Town during the Emirates FA Cup Second Round replay back in December, James Gibbons has had to work his way back into Neil Aspin’s side.
With Vale set to face the Glovers again on Saturday, this time in Sky Bet League Two, the defender is hoping to make it successive starts after he played the full 90 minutes at Forest Green Rovers last weekend.
The fact Gibbons has had to wait to get back into the eleven shows just how well the team have been doing, according to the 19-year-old who is delighted to be back playing.
He said: “It’s great to be back, but it’s a difficult time for me to return because of how the team is doing at the moment.
“We’ve had some unbelievable results like beating Luton at home, so it’s hard to get back into the side when they’re doing that well.
“I’ve got no complaints, and all I can do now is get my head down and work hard.”
Looking back on the incident that saw him pick up a four-match suspension, Gibbons still believes it was a harsh decision and that has lead to a frustrating few weeks for him.
He was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Ryan Dickson in the second half at Huish Park, meaning that was the second time he received his marching orders against Yeovil this term.
“It wasn’t a red in my eyes and a lot of other people said the same, but it’s football and it’s going to happen,” said Gibbons.
“It will probably happen again at some point so you’ve just got to deal with stuff like that.
“I learned from my first sending off against them. My first yellow was for kicking the ball away so I won’t get booked for that again; it was stupid.
“I’ll never pull out of a tackle, but I thought the last red was a bit harsh. I know the way the game is going, but I’ll never change that part of my style.”
With a fellow defender now managing the club in the form of Neil Aspin, ‘Gibbo’ insists that he is very happy being mentored by someone who played in a similar position to himself.
He said: “The gaffer is good for me as he played in a similar role, and from what I’ve heard, he was like me in the fact he would be aggressive.
“Working with him is great. He came in, gave me another chance, and I haven’t got a bad word to say about him. He’s taken a chance on me and he’s stuck with me which is great at such a young age as well.”
After penning a new deal at the club in the summer, he was thrown into the squad in September and he acquitted himself well in the first-team setup, leading Aspin to offer him a fresh deal swiftly afterwards.
Now an important player at Vale Park, the youngster acknowledges just how much he has developed this season and he hopes to continue that rise over the coming months.
“Every game came and when it finished, I was looking forward to playing again, and luckily for me I hit a good run of form at the right time.
“I wasn’t expecting to come straight back into the team after my suspension because the lads have been excellent, especially defensively, keeping clean sheets against Coventry and Luton.”
On the team’s prospects of at least maintaining their Sky Bet League Two status, he added:
“The run of form we had in December and the amount of places we climbed up shows we are capable.
“We’re not getting carried away, but we’ve just got to keep up the form and take every game as it comes because that’s all you can do.
“I feel like everyone, not just me, feels like we owe Yeovil one for what happened at their place in the FA Cup so we’re looking forward to it - hopefully we’ll get a positive result this time.