Port Vale’s preparations for the forthcoming 2020/21 season have continued by announcing the signing of Zak Mills from Oldham Athletic.
Mills joins Port Vale on a free transfer following his release from Oldham Athletic earlier this month. He played 29 games for the Latics during his one season at the club.
Port Vale Complete Signing of Zak Mills
Vale Need More Squad Depth
Vale manager John Askey is keen to strengthen the depth of his squad in all areas. Mills is the experienced right-back that Askey has been seeking.
Prior to joining Oldham in June 2019, 28-year-old Mills spent two years at Morecambe. In total, he made 40 appearances for the Lancashire club before leaving for Oldham. He was also named as the Morecambe Supporters’ Player of the Year for the 2018/19 season. This was one of three awards that he won at Morecambe that season. His other two awards were the Visitor Player of the Year and the Junior Reds Player of the Year.
Mills has not played higher than League Two, but this does not concern Vale. In fact, his vast League Two experience is seen as a positive.
Port Vale’s assistant manager Dave Kevan confirmed this when he spoke to the club’s official website.
“He knows this level,” said Kevan.
“He’s come in as a right-back first and foremost but if we need him to play in another position, he’ll be available for that role.”
Vale have tied Mills to a one-year contract.
Mills Arrived Late to the Professional Ranks
Mills was a late recruit to the EFL. He originally began his career at non-league side Histon. His tour of the non-league scene took him next to Boston United of the National League North division. From there, aged 24, he joined United’s county rivals Grimsby Town.
The move to Grimsby was a jump of two divisions, as Town were playing in League Two. However, he was not fazed by the move to the professional ranks. He became a first-team regular, making 60 appearances during his two years at Grimsby.
Vale Hope for Promotion
Vale are hoping that next season will see them mount a serious promotion challenge. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2019/20 season was cut short. Had it not been, then most fans suspect that Vale would have reached the League Two play-offs.
They had been in an excellent run of form that had taken them to within one point of seventh place. This was quite surprising, considering that prior to the 2019/20 season commencing, Vale had been viewed as a potential lower league table team. Their rise to the play-off spots went largely unnoticed by the neutral. By mid-February, Vale just seemed to materialise in sixth place, although in reality, for most of the season, they had been hovering slightly below the play-off positions.
Mills, following the recent arrival of Devante Rodney, is Vale’s second signing of the close season.