Supporters club chairman Mark Porter is hoping Port Vale can hang on to Lewis Cass beyond his season-long loan from Newcastle United.
The 21-year-old defender has quickly become a favourite with supporters at Vale Park and, although he is a Newcastle fan, he may find more competition for a place in their first team after last week’s Saudi Arabian takeover led to them being linked with a number of high-profile signings.
In the meantime, Vale are delighted with Cass’ progress in his first season in the Football League having spent the last campaign on loan in the National League with Hartlepool.
Porter said: “He has settled in very well and done a really good job. He’s come in and made a massive difference to the team.
“Although he’s young, he’s playing like he has a lot of experience. I think he will develop here.
“He’s part of the richest club in the UK now but I am hoping he will stay with us and the club can do some business to keep him for the long term.
“He seems a commanding player who, as he grows, could become a leader, a captain. I think he has all the attributes to make it at a higher level. Let’s hope he can start his journey at Port Vale, sign permanently and then who knows where he could go in the next few years.”
Cass will be a guest at the next Vale Supporters Club meeting, in Vale Park’s Valiant Suite on Thursday, October 28 (7.30pm). He will be joined by fellow defender James Gibbons, another player who has impressed, in Gibbons’ case since recovering from the hamstring injury he suffered at the end of last season.
Porter added: “He has been brilliant, since he has come into the side we have seen a massive difference.
“He is a local lad, has come through the academy and he knows what the club means to fans because he has seen it. I don’t think he’s put a foot wrong.
“I feel we are very lucky to have a fit Gibbo at Port Vale because I think he could easily play at a higher level.”
Cass and Gibbons are both likely to start on Saturday as Vale entertain Barrow. Darrell Clarke’s side will be looking to break back into the automatic promotion places after dropping a place to fourth with Saturday’s dramatic 4-3 defeat at Sutton United.
Vale led 3-2 until the 87th -minute but were sunk by a cross and a free kick pumped into the box for the two late goals as their five-game winning run came to an end. That was a reverse of the previous week’s 3-2 win at home to Leyton Orient when Vale came from behind to win 3-2 with two injury-time goals.
Porter added: “I think at the start of the season we would have taken being fourth. There are some really positive things going on and a lot of promise there.
“The Leyton Orient game typified where we are at. Would we have won that game two or three seasons ago? Probably not.
“That game was phenomenal and we fully deserved three points.
“Jamie Proctor has really shown what an attribute to the team he is and the side has done well.
“We have to defend better than we did at Sutton, but that’s something the manager has said as well.
“Would we lose that last goal with Leon Legge in the middle? Someone has to come and claim that ball.
“I think the referee got a few decisions wrong but we have to defend those balls into the box.
“But I am not being negative there. There are things they will work at on the training ground so they can put those mistakes to bed.”
Centre half Legge is recovering from a knee injury but Vale appear to have greater strength in their squad this season.
Porter added: “It’s the manager’s squad this year. It wouldn’t be right for me to say this player is better than that one, but this year we do have different options and he has brought players in to suit the system he wants to play.
“Last week against Orient we brought on Dennis Politic, David Amoo and Jake Taylor and they changed the game. So we have the opportunity to do that.
“We have a strong bench. I wouldn’t like to say it is a massively better squad because I don’t think that is fair to some of the players who have left. But there are more options in the squad and it is the squad the manager wanted.”
All fans are welcome to the October 28 supporters’ club meeting which will also feature Vale’s head of community Tom Sherratt.
Issues under discussion, as well as the first team’s progress, will include fund-raising efforts for the Lorne Street concourse and plans for a statue at Vale Park to honour the club’s greatest manager, John Rudge.