A defender and a striker will be among John Askey’s targets during this month’s transfer window.
The Port Vale manager says he will consider strengthening all over the pitch, but has highlighted the need for more competition in defence and up front.
But the manager is also looking to get players off the books before bringing in new signings. Versatile forward Harry McKirdy and striker Theo Robinson have both been made available to clubs as Askey looks to free up room in his squad.
Vale are only permitted 22 players over 21 in their squad, under EFL rules, and are already at that number.
They could get around the cap by opting to ‘de-select’ a player for the second half of the season, meaning they wouldn’t be included in the squad list sent to the EFL and couldn’t be selected for the rest of the season.
But the club would still have to pay their wages – an unappealing prospect considering Vale expect revenues to be £1m less this season than they would expect without the Covid-19 pandemic.
Asked about his likely targets during the window, the manager said loan deals are most likely and he is looking to improve throughout.
He explained: “I think all over really. Obviously defensively is an area we have had to look at, surprisingly, and up front we probably need another player.”
Vale had one of the best defences in the division in the opening two months of the season but subsequently struggled and so their goalless draw at Bradford on Tuesday was their first clean sheet in 14 games.
But the manager was encouraged by the performance of a reshuffled back four at Valley Parade as Nathan Smith was moved to right back, Leon Legge and Shaun Brisley were recalled in central defence and David Fitzpatrick continued at left back.
The manager has also been pleased to welcome right back James Gibbons back to training. The 22 year old had an operation on the hamstring injury he suffered at Wigan on October 6, but could be available for selection for the home game with Grimsby on January 9.
Askey currently has Devante Rodney, Tom Pope, Mark Cullen and Theo Robinson competing for the central striking role in his 4-3-3 formation. But Robinson has been made available and Cullen has missed parts of the campaign through injury, although he has returned to training this week.
The Vale return to action on Saturday at Mansfield.