Askey plays down distractions as Vale’s off-field problems mount ahead of Cobblers clash

Port Vale manager John Askey insists his full focus remains solely on this weekend’s game against the Cobblers despite growing concerns over the club’s off-field future.

Thursday, 28th March 2019, 1:18 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th March 2019, 1:31 pm
John Askey replaced Neil Aspin as Vale boss in February. Picture: Getty

Vale, who are only two places and seven points outside the relegation zone in League Two, have problems off the pitch as well as on it, with owner Norman Smurthwaite announcing his intention to put the club into administration if a buyer is not found by May 5.

Following supporter protests about his running of the club, Smurthwaite told BBC Radio Stoke this week he will only fund Vale up to the final game of the current campaign, claiming that as much as £600,000 will be needed to keep the club going until the start of next season.

“I wasn’t the person or group of people who said ‘you’ve got to go’,” he said. “They didn’t and don’t understand the implications of what they’ve done, and they’ll learn that as time goes by.

“The football club has to trade through to May 5 and it will. I’ll pay all of the bills up to that point. After 5 May, I will not put one cent more into the club.”

Former Shrewsbury and Macclesfield manager Askey, who replaced Neil Aspin at the start of February, played down the distractions this week and insisted his focus is purely on Saturday’s game against Northampton.

“The last few days have been normal and we’re looking forward to the Northampton game,” said Askey, whose side’s four-game unbeaten run was ended by Forest Green Rovers last weekend.

“There were a lot of plus points from the Forest Green game even though we lost and and the atmosphere is quite good.

“I don’t think there are any distractions, not for myself or the players anyway. We’ve got a job to do and that’s to get safe and that’s our sole focus. Nothing else impacts us.”