Rival clubs’ ‘genuine interest’ in longstanding Port Vale target Jake Taylor



Jake Taylor’s agent says he is keeping Port Vale abreast of the situation as the club looks to strengthen in the January transfer window.

The 22-year-old midfielder has been recalled from his loan from Scunthorpe by Nottingham Forest but his agent, Phil Sproson, says Vale are one of four clubs to have shown an interest.

He believes Forest are looking to sell rather than loan the player, and would ask for a significant sell-on clause rather than a large fee up front.

John Askey lost his job as Vale manager on Monday but the club has said transfer deals could continue under interim manager Danny Pugh.

Former Vale defender Sproson says Taylor enjoyed his loan at Vale last season when he scored seven goals in 25 appearances under Askey.

He said: “He had a fondness for John but has a fondness for the football club in general and how Carol runs it.

“He has always said to me, let’s see what Port Vale say. Vale were the first club I contacted once I knew from Forest what they wanted to do.

“Since then there have been four clubs that have shown a genuine interest, two of which want to meet and two of which…I know it’s ongoing.

“So, it is totally in Vale’s hands.”

Meanwhile Sproson has reflected on John Askey’s 23 months in charge. The manager has lost his job after a run of six points from 12 games left Vale in 17th, just five points clear of the relegation zone ahead of Saturday’s home game with second-from-bottom Grimsby.

Sproson says Askey did well to guide Vale to safety after he was appointed in February 2019, before challenging for the play-off places last season.

He recommended Askey for the job to Vale’s then owner Norman Smurthwaite.

Sproson said: “John was the right man at the right time. I said to Norman then, he is the right man at this particular time. He has a passion for the club, he will get amongst the players and I am certain he will stop the slide.

“Norman gave him the job, not just because of me but I think I had a hand in it.

“I think he did well certainly saving us and then last year he certainly brought a style that Vale hadn’t seen for a number of years.

“Most clubs in this division don’t play 4-3-3, they choke the midfield and then rely on one up front away from home, occasionally two up front defending on the opposition.

“People criticise saying he only played one striker at home, but he tried to play two wide men and a striker down the middle.”

Sproson has welcomed captain Leon Legge’s statement that there wasn’t a rift between the manager and players. The agent, who represents defender Adam Crookes, said: “I think the players will slowly realise that they probably could have dug a bit deeper. But I think a lot of it is down to confidence and form. A lot have had a huge loss of confidence and form has gone with it.

“I am really pleased that Leon Legge has stuck his hand up and come out on behalf of the players to say John didn’t lose the dressing room.

“I have players inside that dressing room and I know another agent who has three inside the dressing room and has spoken to his lads.

“They categorically deny there was any split with John, in fact the opposite. But it was a culmination of the lads losing confidence and form taking an almighty dip.

“The disappointing part is we expected more from them, and when we fell off the cliff, John is the manager so all roads leads to him. He picks the team but he was handicapped by Covid, as have been a lot of clubs, but also by injuries and suspensions.”

So, the Vale are searching for a new manager as Danny Pugh takes charge for Saturday’s game.

Several names have been featured by the bookies, including former Salford boss Graham Alexander although he has also been heavily linked with Motherwell.

Sproson added: “Graham Alexander has popped up. He is a bit of a disciplinarian, but there will be a price tag that comes with him. Gary Bowyer is an excellent coach, has a really good name in football, tactically is very good, worked under extreme difficulties at Blackpool and knows what this division is about.

“There will be names out there. Is Port Vale attractive enough? Of course it is. It is a beautiful ground and has owners who are imaginative and want to take the club forward.

“I think they just need to take their time to get the right person. They might need to take two or three weeks of interviewing the right people so they can get the measure of the person and they, in turn, can get the measure of the football club.

“A win buys you time. We are more than capable of winning on Saturday and more than capable of pulling it around and sitting in mid-table.”





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