Winning one then losing one has been the theme of Port Vale’s pre-season so far, as Clarke’s side followed up their 6-2 thrashing of Newcastle Town with a narrow 1-0 defeat to League One outfit Fleetwood Town during four quarters of a 120-minute run-out on Tuesday.
Former Liverpool man Jordan Rossiter struck the only goal of the game with 51 minutes on the clock to hand Port Vale their second defeat of pre-season, as Clarke’s side also suffered defeat to Stafford Rangers either side of wins over Newcastle Town and Kidsgrove Athletic.
Ahead of his first full campaign in charge of Port Vale, Clarke has overseen quite a significant summer overhaul, releasing 15 out-of-contract players after
previously expressing delight about getting rid of the “deadwood”, while the acquisitions of Lewis Cass and Aaron Martin could prove vital on the defensive front.
Following their clash with Forest, Port Vale will round off their preparations for the new season on July 27 when they welcome Sheffield Wednesday to Stoke-on-Trent,
and Clarke was able to focus on the “pleasing aspects” of his side’s battle with Fleetwood before stiffer opposition pay a visit to Vale Park.
Having had ample time to recover from a 2020-21 campaign which can only be described as topsy-turvy, Nottingham Forest kicked off their pre-season with a trip to non-league side Alfreton Town, who gave Chris Hughton’s men quite the scare in midweek.
Brennan Johnson – back from his loan spell at Lincoln City – drew first blood for Nottingham Forest before Shaun Tuton restored parity for the non-league side, who were ultimately undone by Will Swan’s 88th-minute winner on the day.
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Twenty-year-old Swan in particular will hope to keep the momentum going from that game as he quickly gets reacquainted with Port Vale –
the side who took him on loan for the 2020-21 season – and Forest have finally moved to strengthen their own squad with the signing of American goalkeeper Ethan Horvath from Club Brugge