No big name signings despite departures at Vale
The departure of a sizeable group of Vale of Lune players has presented the coaches and selectors with a number of problems, not least of all ensuring that the cloth that is available to them can be cut and fashioned accordingly and made to measure.
It is vital that the Vale are suited and booted for the examination that awaits them as they strut down the catwalk, mixing and matching might be required and at times strictly off the peg will have to suffice until a pattern emerges.
There have been no marquee signings at Powderhouse Lane thus far, rumours have abounded that players will be arriving from far and wide but there are still enough contenders inside the tent to keep a competitive spirit burning brightly and make sure the guy ropes are both tight and firmly pegged down.
As training increases at an incremental pace, key positions in the playing hierarchy have been pencilled in and in keeping with modern thinking there is an increase of shared responsibility both on and off the field.
A leadership team has been put in place, which in itself is a break with convention. Prop forward James Hesketh has been appointed as club captain, while another experienced and highly motivated player, Andy Powers, will take on the roll as the on-field captain.
These two popular club stalwarts, with over 300 first team appearances between them, will also have input from Jack Ayrton, James Robinson and Harry Finan who have been named as vice captains.
In addition there will be invaluable support from Billy Swarbrick, Harry Fellows and Ross Pillow.
Saturday will provide the opportunity to roll out this new, imaginative blueprint and see if anyone salutes when the Vale travel to Leek in North Staffordshire for a warm up fixture.
The two clubs have not faced each other at first team level and last season the hosts finished in fifth place in West Midland Two North.
In May 2014 Leek reached the final of the RFU Intermediate Cup after defeating Aspatria at home, 27-15, in a semi final tie, before losing to Trowbridge, 22-19, at Twickenham.