Tom Conlon has earned praise from the Port Vale management as he competes for a place in the team for Saturday’s game at Walsall.
The 24 year old scored Vale’s opener in last week’s 3-0 win at home to Colchester, the highlight of an outstanding all-round performance.
First-team coach Danny Pugh says Conlon and Scott Burgess did a vital job for the team in their attacking midfield roles in the 4-3-3 system.
He said: “I thought Tom was brilliant on Saturday. It was his work rate first and foremost, his pressing, closing down and his energy. I thought he and Scott worked very well together. They outran their midfield, they were all over them, everywhere.
“Tom is comfortable on the ball, he has a great left foot and, if we can add goals and assists to his game, then it is going to take him on again. But in the last couple of games especially he has done exceptionally well.”
Vale have intense competition for places in midfield. Manny Oyeleke has been on the bench for the last three games after returning from a hamstring injury. Meanwhile, Jake Taylor could be back in the squad on Saturday after recovering from a knee injury.
Taylor has been having treatment at his parent club Nottingham Forest but returned to Vale for training this week.
Pugh added: “We are looking strong and that level of competition can only improve you as a player.”
The management also have Tom Pope and James Gibbons available after completing one and two-game suspensions respectively, but John Askey may decide to stick with the same side that started the Colchester win, a result that lifted the Vale three places to sixth.
Walsall are 13th, but unbeaten in their last three, and came from 2-0 down to beat Vale’s play-off rivals Northampton last weekend.