Midfielder Tom Conlon has been sidelined for two months after suffering a knee injury, but recently made his return to action on Tuesday night and is ready to fight to regain his place in the team.
When Port Vale welcomed Plymouth Argyle to Vale Park on the 14th of September they were subject to three first-half injuries, with David Amoo, Callum Evans and Tom Conlon all forced to leave the field.
Conlon suffered the worst of the injuries, as he took a blow to his knee and was forced to miss two months of action, but was able to make his return on Tuesday, getting 60 minutes back on the pitch as Vale defeated the Newcastle United Under-21’s 2-1 in the Leasing.com trophy.
Conlon had been a central figure to John Askey’s side since taking on the number 10 shirt over the summer, but with the likes of Jake Taylor and Scott Burgess excelling in his absence he knows it will be a fight to get back in the side.
His aim is now to keep working hard in training to earn his place in the starting 11 after a difficult time spent away from the first team and hopes to play in the reserve game away at West Brom on Tuesday to gain more minutes and further his return to regular football.
He said: “It was brilliant [to get back on the pitch], it’s been a long time coming, I was out for seven weeks and then I was back training and the game’s come at about eight weeks so it was great.
“It’s [being injured] tough, all injuries are tough, the longer the injury it’s harder to get back from and more frustrating because you’re injured for longer… it’s never nice but it’s generally football and you’re always going to get that throughout your career so you’ve just got to handle it the best you can.
“I got an hour under my belt on the Tuesday and I felt good, I think it’s just a matter now of I’ve got to just keep training, you get quite a bit of fitness after that, and I think there might be a reserve game that I’ll probably be involved in.
“There’s a lot more competition [in midfield] now, players have really stepped up and done really well there so it’s down to me to get my place back and down to them to keep their place, but I think that’s good for the team.”
Conlon also discussed the positivity that is felt amongst the club since the summer both on and off the pitch, with the team togetherness standing out to the midfielder who noted the improvements he has seen from last season.
The team morale was further boosted on Wednesday, as the players and staff visited TeamSport karting in Burslem to go go-karting for a team bonding session that was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone, with defender Nathan Smith proving to be the best racer of the group.
Focus will now turn to Saturday, where the Vale welcome a Carlisle United side who have recently sacked their manager to Vale Park, and Conlon stated how their circumstances will make the game a difficult one but the team remains confident they can come away with all three points.
He said: “Definitely [a different feel from] last year, I was here last year so I can comment on that and this year I think there’s such a better group with everyone just pulling in the same direction, wanting to do well and even as a group of lads we’re a lot closer.
“It [go-karting] was good, it was that new one in Burslem, we had a real good laugh there and everyone got on really well and yeah it was a good day out.
“We’ll look forward to that [Carlisle], I think they’ve just sacked their manager, which can always be a strange one, whether they’ll bounce back from that or whatever, but we’ll play anyone at the moment, we’re in good form and everyone’s full of confidence.”