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Johnson wants the shirt

2 December 2013

But he concedes Neal is the club's 'number one'.

Sam Johnson celebrated his twenty-first birthday a day early with a clean sheet in his Football League debut at Walsall on Saturday.

It was the scene of his penalty heroics a year earlier when he settled Vale’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie against the Saddlers with the decisive spot kick.

His aim this time round is to impress the manager and hopefully keep hold of the shirt when Chris Neal is fit to return to the side, though he conceded Neal is still the club’s ‘number one.’

He said: “Chris got injured on Friday and thought I may be stepping in and then got told. It was unlucky for Chris but I finally got my chance and I am pretty happy with it really.

“I try to keep calm but probably deep down there were a few nerves with it being my League debut but I just wanted to impress so I kept my feet firmly on the ground.

“It is a pretty good ground for me really. I just thought that last time I played at there I did well so it was a case of same again really.

“I was trying to stay switched on and was concentrating all through the game and luckily had a few crosses to deal with early on and that helped with the nerves.

“I had two good centre halves in front of me along with Adams Yates and Carl Dickinson and they kept giving me advice and kept me switched on.

“Before the game Grewy was telling me this was my chance to get a run of games in the team and I just want to keep my form going, doing the same things.

“It is unlucky for Chris Neal to get that injury but I just hope I can play well and keep myself in the frame.

“Chris is the established number one and rightly so, he had a great season last year and has been great this season, but if I do keep my form up I would like to think I can keep my place when he does come back.

“It has been good for me to be able to show just what I can do, to the gaffer especially, and I don’t think I have done myself any harm.”

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