“It was a strange one”: Jules on his Port Vale loan and taking on his former boss again

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A loan spell back in 2018 at Port Vale came too soon after surgery for MK Dons defender Zak Jules, and he admitted it was a move he probably should not have taken.

Then 20 and playing for Reading, Jules underwent hamstring surgery in late 2017, but the opportunity for a loan move to Vale Park arose in a bid for him to regain fitness. Jules managed just two appearances for the Valiants though, with the defending feeling he was not fully ready to have made that move.

“It was a strange one for me,” he said. “I went off the back of a bad hamstring injury, I'd recovered from surgery and the opportunity popped up for me to go and play games.

“Looking back, I was a lot younger and wasn't as wise, so I probably shouldn't have gone considering where I was at with my fitness. It was way too soon, and it proved to be. It was a brief stint.”

The defender will head back to Burslem on Saturday with Dons where he will take on not only one of his former clubs but also one of his former managers in the form of Darrell Clarke.

Jules was signed by Clarke at Walsall where he made 42 appearances for the Saddlers and knows the sort of message their boss will be instiling in his side ahead of Dons’ visit tomorrow.

He continued: “Darrell Clarke managed me at Walsall, so I know he sets his teams up well, very organised. They pick up loose balls in midfield, and they're on you like a rash. They don't give you time on the ball, his teams get after you and get in your face. I feel like that's what we hae to expect from Port Vale.

“But it's up to us to counteract that and do what we can do, to perform at a high level to get over the line, score some goals and get three points.”