Midfielder Spoke To The Media On Tuesday
- Vale midfielder admits competition in squad is good
- Says players have a different mentality heading into away games
- O'Connor hoping Vale can have productive Christmas period
Port Vale midfielder Michael O’Connor knows it’s not a foregone conclusion that he will immediately return to the starting line-up following his suspension.
The 27-year-old was banned for Vale’s loss to Coventry City after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season at Gillingham – but he is eligible to play against Crawley Town on Saturday.
Prior to his suspension, O’Connor had been a key part of Rob Page’s midfield and his partnership with Chris Lines was flourishing.
However, speaking to the press on Tuesday morning, he conceded that - due to the level of competition in the squad – it may be difficult to win his place back straight away.
“It’s down to me, if you lose your place in the team through suspension or something silly, you could be out,” he said.
“You look at Richard Duffy, I think he got suspended and Ryan McGivern. They were doing well before they went out but Robbo and Freddie have come in and done well.
“You want to try and stay in the team for as long as possible and not miss games.”
Vale make the long trip to Broadfield Stadium this weekend and O’Connor believes if they perform like they did against Gillingham then three points is a possibility.
The midfielder thinks the Valiants are now more organised away from home due to a new mindset among the players.
“I think our away form has picked up, we have a different mentality now. We’re doing what teams do to us here,” he added.
“We’re going, keeping our shape, being hard to beat and on the counter attack we’re trying to nick a goal here and there.
“I think it’s working at the minute so if we can go into the Crawley game like we did against Gillingham in the last away, I thought we were the better team.
“They got two goals and you would say we were lucky to score in the last minute but overall I thought we deserved to beat Gillingham.”
Fixtures against Sheffield United, Swindon Town and Gillingham are hot on the heels of this weekend’s clash with the Red Devils.
O’Connor is hoping that Vale can string a run of positive results together and make their way up the League One table over the festive period.
“I think we’re three points off the bottom four now but there’s about seven or eight teams so the next three or four games over the Christmas period are going to be tough,” he said.
“We’ve got some big games; we’ve got Gillingham, Crawley, Sheffield United and Swindon so if we can get two or three wins from them four games, we’ll be looking up instead of down.”
Hear a snippet of what Michael O'Connor had to say to the press in the audioBoom clip below.