‘Anything you can ask for’ – management verdict as Port Vale sign Newcastle United defender

Port Vale manager Darrell Clarke has said he is looking forward to working with Lewis Cass after the club signed the defender on a permanent deal with Newcastle United.

Cass, 22, returns to Vale Park after impressing on loan last season. He made 27 appearances before suffering a season-ending ankle injury in January.

But his consistent performance, whether on the right of the back three or at the back, was enough for Vale to want to face him this summer.

Read more: David Flitcroft talks Port Vale recruitment, contract talks, promotion and League One plans

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Cass will officially become a Vale player on July 1 when his contract with Newcastle expires. Vale does not disclose the length of his contract.

Clarke told the club’s official website: “We are delighted to welcome Lewis back to the club. His injury has been a huge blow for him and for the club, but I’m happy to see he’s back even more. stronger than before.

“He will give us options at the back and is a much-loved personality, so he will fit right into the team.

“During his recovery he has been the ultimate professional and worked hard to make sure he is back as soon as possible, that’s all you can ask for, he’s a good lad and I can’t wait to work with him during the pre-season.”

Cass came through Newcastle United’s academy and spent the 2020/21 season on loan at Hartlepool United, helping them win promotion from the National League

Director of Football David Flitcroft said Vale had beaten competition from a number of clubs to sign Cass after Clarke, assistant manager Andy Crosby and first-team coach Dean Whitehead made it clear they were assessing the defender.

He added: “I spoke to Darrell, Andy and Dean and the way they all talked about him you could see they looked up to him, that was a huge factor for us to make sure he came back , it was a collective decision.

“He’s worked incredibly hard since his injury and I think we’re getting a better Lewis Cass who has left us and I’m delighted to see what impact he can have in Ligue 1.”

Vale will know their schedule for 2022/23 when the EFL fixtures are released on June 23. The team returns for pre-season training the first week of July, in preparation for the season opener on July 30.

They will have had a shorter summer than most of League One. The regular campaign in this division ended on April 30, but Vale’s season did not end until four weeks later when they beat Mansfield 3-0 at Wembley.

The club retained the majority of the squad that won promotion. The contracted players are Lucas Covolan; Dan Jones; Brad Walker; Connor Hall; David Worral; Ben Garrity; James Wilson; Tom Conlon; Alex Hurst; Chris Hussey; Aaron Martin; Jack Taylor; Harry Charsley; Sammy Robinson, Tom Pett, Nathan Smith, Aidan Stone and now Lewis Cass.

Flitcroft speaks to the club’s three out-of-contract players, James Gibbons, Jamie Proctor and Mal Benning, after they were offered new offers at the end of the season. He is also talking with top clubs about the possibility of loaning players out.

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