Neal looks forward to Vale return

Town keeper Chris Neal
Town keeper Chris Neal
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Fleetwood keeper Chris Neal is hoping for a good reception when he returns to Port Vale for the first time since switching to the Fylde coast.

Neal spent four seasons at Vale Park and was part of their promotion-winning 2012/13 side as they rose from League Two to their current division.

But after being the Vailants’ number one he was usurped by Vale’s current shot-stopper Jak Alnwick due to injury and spent time out on loan at Doncaster and Bury to get some regular first team football.

He was released by Vale’s then boss Rob Page in the summer and has become number one at Highbury.

He said: “It is just another game. I know it is a cliche but I had four good seasons there so there are a lot of people I know and it would be nice to see them again.

“I’m hoping for a good reception. I have always got on with the fans there so I am hoping for nothing but positives.

“There was no animosity, I think the fans understood my situation.”

Since Page’s departure to Northampton Bruno Ribeiro has taken over as Vale are level on points with 10th-placed Fleetwood but a place below due to their inferior goal difference.

Neal said: “To be honest there have been that many changes there with the off season there are probably only a handful of the lads that I know there.

“The manager and some of the staff have changed and moved on.

“I think once a manager moves on the new manager comes in and looks to put his own stamp on a team and I think that is what the manager there has done.”

Neal is enjoying his time on the Fylde coast despite a hectic fixture list as Town face their third game in six days at Vale Park tomorrow.

He believes Town head coach Uwe Rosler was right to rest him and the 10 other players that started the FA Cup first round draw at Southport when they exited the Checkatrade Trophy with a 4-2 defeat at Carlisle.

He said: “I love it. Obviously coming here and training everyday is brilliant and playing at the ground as well the pitch is like a carpet.

“When the games pile up it is nice getting in that rhythm of playing instead of coming down training

“I think it kind of showed on Wednesday how the manager is thinking with obviously playing a few lads that have not played in the first team.

“That is purely because we have got so many games coming up he is looking more towards the league and how we are sitting at the minute I think is the right decision.”