Port Vale keeper Chris Neal joins on emergency loan
Port Vale signed Neal on a free transfer in July 2012. The goalkeeper started his career at Preston North End and enjoyed loan spells with Tamworth, Shrewsbury Town and Morecambe before joining Shrewsbury permanently in July 2009.
He was part of the successful Shrewsbury Town promotion side of the 2011-2012 season but was released from his contract by the Shropshire side at the end of the season. Shrewsbury’s loss was Vale’s gain as the stopper celebrated back-to-back promotions from League Two helping Port Vale to promotion in 2012-13 before remaining as Vale's starter between the sticks upon their return to League One.
During the 2014/15 campaign, Neal made 42 appearances for the club and kept six clean sheets but suffered an ankle injury in Vale's 2-1 pre-season friendly victory over Notts. County, an injury which has kept him out of the opening part of the season. Chris has also been out on loan to Doncaster Rovers this season but returned to Vale Park following just two appearances in February.
Chris Neal joins for the remainder of the season and will take squad number 38
Manager David Flitcroft said this afternoon: “Ian Lawlor will be away on international duty with Ireland next weekend and will miss the Easter period. To compound this, Rob Lainton has aggravated his groin injury and he will not be fit for this week and potentially for another two weeks so we had to act and bring another keeper in.
We saw there was an opportunity at Port Vale with two number one keepers and they were fantastic with the way that they dealt with it, and how professional Rob Page with letting us use his services. We’ve got Chris in and I am delighted to be working with him, he has that experience, he is that calming influence and with the window closing on Thursday we had to make sure we had cover.”