Harry McKirdy shows what Port Vale are missing with standout performance in Swindon Town win
Photo by Getty Images / Cameron Smith

When Harry McKirdy joined Port Vale back in 2020, there was so much optimism around the new addition that had netted 11 goals for fellow League Two side Carlisle United the season prior.

Out of favour at Vale

However, things didn't quite work out as hoped for the forward in his spell at the Valiants as he only featured 14 times in all competitions and only accumulating two goals and two assists in that time.

Only eight of these games actually came in the league with the 24-year-old just making the starting 11 in this competition twice, one of which came on the last day of the season with Vale having nothing to play for.

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Therefore, there is no doubt that with both John Askey and Darrell Clarke, McKirdy was out of favor at the club, so much so he was even taken out of the 22 man squad in January to help accommodate the signing of Jake Taylor, before being selected to rejoin two months later.

Settling in at the Robins

However at his new club Swindon Town, the former Aston Villa youth player is really appearing to have found his feet with him being a regular feature for the Robins, shown by him having played 19 of their 24 League Two games so far this campaign.

In this time he has really paid back manager Ben Garner's faith in him with 12 goals in all competitions, 10 of which have come in the league as he has clearly been an integral part to why Swindon were challenging for automatic promotion last season.

On Saturday, the forward who earlier in the week had signed an undisclosed-length contract extension with Swindon, made his first return to Vale Park with a point to prove.

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There is no doubt that he did exactly that during Swindon's 3-1 win at ten-man Vale, showing the kind of quality that was the reason why he joined Vale in the first place.

McKirdy was involved in all three of the visitors goals, sliding through Jonny Williams for the opener, before earning the penalty that saw goalkeeper Lucas Covolan receive his marching orders and that was smashed home by Ben Gladwin.

Then his great return was wrapped up by his cross taking a deflection off Nathan Smith leaving substitute goalkeeper Aidan Stone helpless, ensuring that all three points would be going back to the Robins.

It wasn't just his goal involvements that would have impressed Garner, he caused problems for Vale's back three all afternoon with his confidence and ability on the ball and at times they struggled to track his runs and deal with him.

Overall it was an afternoon that truly showed the ability McKirdy possesses and if things had worked out differently, the Valiants would have had some player on their hands.