Following the surprise news that Micky Adams has stepped down from the Port Vale job, here are five potential replacements.

Micky Adams took Port Vale up from League Two in 2013 and then led them to a very creditable ninth place finish in League One last season. The club saw a lot of their players leave this summer, and were tipped as one of the favourites for relegation this season.

The Valiants started the season well with five points from their first three league games, and a 6-2 victory over Hartlepool United in the Capital One Cup. However since then, Adams’ side have lost six games in a row and he has taken the decision to step down.

Here are five potential candidates that Port Vale may look to as their next manager:

Neil Aspin

Neil Aspin played 348 league games during a ten-year stay at Port Vale, and has since gone on to become a very successful manager with FC Halifax Town. He took over the club in 2009 after a four year spell with Harrogate Town which saw him come very close to reaching the Conference Premier each season. He achieved that feat with Halifax through three promotions in just four years. Then in their first season in the Conference they reached the play-offs before losing to Cambridge United. Aspin has overseen a good start to this season, as Halifax sit in fourth place, and he would be an obvious choice for Port Vale.

James Beattie

The former England striker took on the difficult job at Accrington Stanley as his first foray into management. Stanley have one of the smallest budgets in the Football League but after a difficult start to last season, he managed to guide them to 15th place in League Two. Beattie also invested some of his own money into the club and it is unclear as to why he left the job at Accrington, but one would think he would be moving into another job soon.

Dean Saunders

After promising spells in charge of Wrexham and Doncaster Rovers, Dean Saunders’ managerial career has been left tainted after a poor spell with Wolverhampton Wanderers. Charged with guiding them away from the relegation zone, he failed his task and paid the price for it. He only had 20 games in charge of Wolves, and is keen to get back into management. Guided Doncaster to the top of League One before being poached by Wolves.

Robert Page

Page has been part of the coaching set-up at Port Vale since 2011, initially being a youth-coach before making the step up to assistant manager. Has been close to becoming manager at AFC Wimbledon and Sheffield United before the jobs went to Neal Ardley and David Weir respectively. If the club wants a smooth transition then Page would be the obvious choice, and given his aspirations he would be keen to step up.

Keith Curle

The former Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester City defender has found himself linked with the Carlisle United job recently but would surely be more interested in this role? His most recent managerial role was with Notts County and he took them to a seventh place finish in 2012, missing out on the play-offs by goal difference. He also led them to an incredible 22 away game unbeaten spell, breaking the club record in the process.

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