FC Halifax Town: Blackburn loanee Vale feels he's on the right track with Shaymen

Jack Vale had to wait a while for his turn in the Town team, but for now at least, he's taking some shifting.

Friday, 3rd December 2021, 11:28 am
Jack Vale. Photo: Marcus Branston

The 20-year-old's arrival at The Shay was announced on September 9, with the Blackburn loanee making his debut two days later off the bench in the 3-1 home win over Southend.

Two more substitute appearances followed, as did an ankle injury, but Vale really announced himself at the club with the winner in a tight 1-0 win over Pontefract in the FA Cup on October 19.

Since then, he has been a regular starter for Town, and is enjoying it.

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"It's been good experience for me coming down to this league, it's a good league, and I'm playing at the moment," he said.

"I think I just needed to be around a first-team environment really and I'm developing well."

This is the longest exposure to first-team football Vale has had so far in his career.

"I've been around the Blackburn first-team but it's different when you're not playing, so now I'm playing I'm definitely learning a lot more and developing as a player," he said.

"I'm glad it's happened and I just want it to carry on."

Vale says being involved in the hustle and bustle of National League football has been beneficial.

"You've got to be a lot more physical when you play in the first-team, whereas with under 23s football I don't think you get that physicality," he said.

"That's helped me a lot. On the ball stuff's all good for me but I think I need to learn off the ball.

"Now I'm playing men's football that's definitely developing me in that area.

"I think first-team football was what I needed, going out on loan, playing minutes, so I'm glad it's happened and I'm thankful for the gaffer giving me the opportunity he has."

With top-scorer Billy Waters in superb form as Town's main striker, Vale has been playing mainly on the right flank.

"Number nine is my main position but I have played on the wing for Wales (under 21s)," he said.

"I played on the left and the right in my younger days, but mainly I've been up-front for the last few years.

"Playing on the right is a lot different but I'm used to it, so it's not a big change.

"I think it shows I'm versatile, it's definitely different but the team have helped me a lot, giving me opinions on what to do and what not to do."

Vale also praised Town boss Pete Wild and assistant Chris Millington for their guidance since joining the club.

"As soon as I've come in they've been great, they've helped me a lot," he said.

"I didn't know the gaffer before this. He's been asking about me for a few years but I haven't really met him, but he's good, he helps me a lot, and Milly.

"It's good to play under them.

"Because I'm on the right, it's a lot different, like the different runs I have to do, so they'll tell me whether to stay out wide or come inside to create space.

"So they're detailed in that aspect."

Vale added: "It's only been two or three months but I can see a huge difference from where I was before to where I am now.

"I think that's just down to me playing, being around a first-team environment more, it's definitely developed me on and off the pitch."

The only blot on Vale's copy book so far is a lack of goals, with that winner against Pontefract his only one so far in a Town shirt.

"I've still got a load more to give, and I think the goals will come, and assists, but I think I'm on the right track to show everyone what I can do," he said.

"I'm trying each game but I know the goals will come.

"I'm getting in the right areas, I'm creating a lot, so it's just a matter of time.

"I know the goals will come, I've just got to keep going, keep trying."

Vale's loan is set to expire on January 2, but the forward says he is open to the possibility of staying longer.

"Yeah, if the opportunity's there because I'm enjoying it at the moment so I don't see why not," he said.

"Its good experience for me getting the minutes in, so if it's there to carry on after Jan, I don't see why not."

Vale has played his part in Town's impressive start to the season, which has them sitting among the National League promotion contenders and in the second round of the FA Cup.

"I think because we try and play football," said Vale when asked why he thought Halifax were doing so well.

"I've noticed a lot of the teams we play in this league tend to go long a lot, whereas we play football, we can mix it up, we can go long or play football.

"Our creativity up-front has been good as well, and the defence and midfield have been excellent."

And on whether Town could keep up their strong start throughout the season, Vale said: "From what I've seen so far, we're near the top now and I feel like we can push on.

"I think we've got the quality and I think we will get promoted this season."