Port Vale bounced back to winning ways yesterday afternoon away at Carlisle United following midweek’s FA Cup defeat.
Tyrone Barnett and Tom Pope secured the three vital points for Vale as they head into a tricky festive period.
Manager Neil Aspin spoke exclusively to the club following the victory: “I am very pleased with the performance, pleased with the result and pleased with the attitude of the players because they have had a difficult week.
“They have had a really tough week and they have came through it exceptionally well.”
Aspin had to re-shuffle his pack following the dismissal of Cristian Montano and James Gibbons on Tuesday night, and was aware of the test that lay ahead: “I think in the context of the week we have had, it is an excellent win because Carlisle are a good team and they have some good players.
“You know that you are going to have to come here and do a good job.”
Vale now face a testing festive period with games against a number of the league’s high-fliers looming: “We have got some really tough fixtures when you look through the games that we have, and this fixture was going to be tough – and was tough.
“It was absolutely vital that we got some points on the board going into this period and it will give the players a lot of confidence.”
The gaffer switched things up for the second period, by replacing Michael Tonge with Tyrone Barnett, a change that Aspin is taking full credit for: “When they come off, it is always tactical genius and when they don’t there must be some other reason for it,” he joked.
But on a more serious note, he said: “I decided that I wanted to get another forward on because I felt that we could exploit their defence and put them under a bit of pressure.
“He did do well, it’s great for him to get a goal and as long as he works hard, is committed and puts himself about then that’s all I can ask from him.”
Aspin hopes that Barnett’s first league goal for Vale can give him the impetus to push on and grab himself a few more: “Any striker wants to get off the mark when he comes to a new club, and now he has done that so let’s hope he can get some more goals between now and the end of the season.”
After travelling down to Yeovil on Tuesday, more than 200 fans made the 300-mile round trip to Carlisle yesterday, and Aspin is not only thankful for their support, but also impressed: “When you think that there are some of the same supporters that went all the way down to Yeovil and had the disappointment of that game, and then they have come all the way to Carlisle – I say, they have not had much to cheer about this season so I am really pleased for them.”
Vale now look ahead to another long trip on the road next Saturday as they prepare for the journey to Colchester United.