The clean sheet on Tuesday is a good starting point
Although Vale didn’t get the win they wanted on Tuesday night – a victory that would have taken them back to the top of the league, there were plenty of positives to take from the game.
First and foremost, as far as the defence and their goalkeeper were concerned, was the fat they didn’t concede, and if that keeps repeating itself the team won’t go far wrong between now and the end of April.
Vale ‘keeper Chris Neal says: “We can take a lot out of the game on Tuesday night, a clean sheet obviously and we kind of stopped the rot, as it were, following two disappointing results before that.
“The manager made a couple of changes with the personnel and the shape of the team and I think that benefitted us massively.
“It was always going to be a hard game against a Bradford side who had just played in a League Cup (Capital One Cup) Final and had a great run in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy as well.
“It was important that we got a positive result and everyone was kind of happy after the game even though we didn’t pick up three points.”
One player who impressed the Vale ‘keeper on Tuesday was midfielder Anthony Griffith on his return to Burslem, though Chris Neal was a little worried in the opening minutes of the game when the yellow card came out.
He says: “I did think ‘here we go’ when he got booked so early in the game, but just gave us that bit of stability sitting in front of the back four and helped us
to support Popey and, as it was, Doddsy on Tuesday night. “It gives the wide players even more licence to get forward
So, Southend United are the visitors to Vale Park this weekend. Just how big a game is it for the Vale players?
“I think they will see this as an important game on Saturday, as it is for us. They are sitting a few points outside the play-offs and they are going to win most of their games if they are going to sneak in there.
“They are going to come here looking to win, so maybe that will benefit us a little bit if they are going to play a little bit expansive.
“That helps us and hopefully we can break them down and get back to winning ways on Saturday.”