Port Vale: MacKenzie aiming to ensure a long stay
by Steve Shaw
MIDFIELDER Neil MacKenzie is determined to resurrect a disappointing season after joining Port Vale on a month's loan from their League Two rivals Notts County.
The 32-year-old former Stoke trainee has failed to make a league start for Ian McParland's Magpies this season and was farmed out to Blue Square Premier outfit Kidderminster in late September on a month's loan.
With his current contract due to run out at the end of the season, MacKenzie is intent on making his mark with Vale.
MacKenzie, originally from Halesowen, said: "It's been really frustrating, probably one of the most frustrating spells of my career. But to be honest, I'm just glad I'm away from it and have a chance to kick on.
"I'm not coming here as a short-term measure. I've got the bit between my teeth and I'm desperate to take the chance. I'm as hungry as I've ever been and I've trained really hard in the last few weeks since I came back from Kidderminster."
Vale boss Dean Glover yesterday revealed the club have also extended midfielder Dave Brammer's loan from Millwall for a further month, even though the 33-year-old will undergo knee surgery on Tuesday. The operation is likely to keep him sidelined for a minimum of two weeks, but Vale boss Dean Glover said the loan extension placed no financial burden on Vale.
MacKenzie has clocked up well over 300 senior appearances and played at Championship level for Scunthorpe and earlier Stoke, where he made more than 40 appearances for the club between 1996-99.
He added: "I've been told there are some talented young players here.
"That seems to be the over-riding factor. They need a bit of experience around them. Gareth Owen has obviously played a lot of games at this level and above, and Dave Brammer's had a great career. I've played more than 300 games now, so I'd like to think my experience will help the younger lads around me."
MacKenzie goes straight into the squad for tonight's FA Cup clash with Macclesfield at Vale Park (7.45pm).
FORMER Vale midfielder Chris Birchall has joined League One side Carlisle on loan until January.