Having spent the last four years on the pitch at Vale Park, Danny Pugh has begun the transition into management and took charge of Port Vale Reserves 3-1 win yesterday.
The experienced and versatile Pugh has become a figure head at the club, with Captain Tom Pope describing him as a go to man, and is in the process of earning his coaching badges, with John Askey placing him in charge of the Port Vale reserve team.
The side played against the Scunthorpe United reserves yesterday in the Central League Cup with Pugh at the helm, and he got off to a winning start with a 3-1 victory thanks to Kieran Kennedy, Jordan Archer and a Rhys Browne wonder-goal.
Pugh has taken a step back from playing this season, to integrate into the coaching side of things, having responsibilities with the younger payers and first team, although he has still featured on the bench a few times, most recently against Mansfield Town.
Taking charge of the reserves has been great for Pugh, and he is enjoying his work as he gains experience on the touchline, learning new skills and he hopes to repay John Askey and Dave Kevan for their trust and continue to give back to the club.
He said: “I’ve loved it [coaching], like I said I’m learning something every day, every week, it’s something new for me again but something I’m thoroughly enjoying.
“[I benefit from it] massively, because it’s something completely new to me but you see another side of it, I’m grateful the gaffer’s letting me do bits like this, so very pleased and enjoying it.
“From day one when they [Askey and Kevan] came into the club they’ve been brilliant with me, they’ve been a massive help and they’ve shown me a lot, I feel like I’m learning a lot day in and day out.”
Pugh was able to begin that repayment and display what he’s learnt already with the side picking up three points to start their campaign in this year’s Central league Cup, praising the squad for how well they performed.
The game allowed for Jordan Archer and Rhys Browne get more game time under their belts as they return from injury, and Pugh pointed out how well the pair had played and how them both getting on the scoresheet will do them a lot of good.
Pugh will continue to develop his managerial career as the reserves continue their cup campaign, with the team still to face Peterborough United reserves and West Bromwich Albion reserves on the road, and welcome the Mansfield Town reserves to Vale Park.
He said: “I think as a collective they’ve done really well, Max [Chimenes] has come in and done really well, he looked a threat, good to see Rhys [Browne] back on the pitch and scoring a goal, lads at the back looked solid, so pleasing all round.
“It’s a massive goal, we know the threat he [Archer] is, and he’s got that, he’s hard to play against, he’s quick, he’s strong and he’s physically strong as well so it’s a massive plus for us to get him back on the pitch and scoring goals.
“We had him [Browne] penciled in for the first-half, but he wanted to play a little bit more which was pleasing for us and obviously he’s feeling good and then to score a goal like that was obviously an added bonus.”