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Gaffer's first programme notes ahead of Stevenage

23 February 2021


To begin, I would like to say that it is a privilege to have been appointed as Port Vale manager and I am delighted to have been presented with this opportunity. I will be assessing all areas of the club over the course of the next 11 weeks and working hard alongside my backroom staff to deliver success.

I will be analysing the players on a daily basis and ensuring that my methods and ways of working are clearly conveyed – this is essential, because the demands required to yield successful results in this competitive league cannot be underestimated. A sense of togetherness must be instilled within the players in order to improve upon our current league standing, which is simply too low for a club of Port Vale’s calibre.

Looking back at my first game in charge away at Leyton Orient, I thought that the shape and defensive work put across to the team was executed well. We restricted our opposition to very few opportunities in the first half and Hursty had the best chance which was well saved by their keeper.

The second half opened up and Wozza – who was struggling with his ankle at half time – gave me another 10-15 minutes and a great finish. I was disappointed with the goal conceded and we could have defended the situation better, but all in all, the work rate, blocks, interceptions and tackles displayed over the course of the match showed me that the desire and hunger is there to keep improving and we will get better.

Stevenage are up next, in what will be my first home game in charge of Port Vale Football Club. There are no easy fixtures in this league and, similarly to us, they find themselves at the wrong end of the table so we must prepare for a battle against Alex Revell’s side and for all 8 of our fixtures over the next four weeks.

It has been a whirlwind of a first week and everyone at the club has been very welcoming. You can feel the passion from the supporters that have popped down to the training ground. I feel that in the building and I have felt it in Burslem with the fans, even though they cannot be with us at the minute. In your absence, know that I will be giving every effort to make this club successful.

Whilst I have experienced Vale Park’s atmosphere in the opposition dugout, I am very much looking forward to the day where we meet and supporters are welcomed back to stadiums across the country. As I understand it, the fans are yet to see the ground in its ‘finished’ capacity, since seats were installed in the Lorne Street Stand over the first lockdown.

Everybody working at the football club is very much looking forward to seeing those seats filled once again when it is safe to do so. We play this game for you and I will endeavour to build a team that you are proud of.

In the meantime, I hope you are all keeping well in this national lockdown and I will look forward to the day we can eventually meet in person.


Darrell Clarke

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