Following long trips to Yeovil Town and Carlisle United, Vale will travel to Essex on Saturday to face Colchester United in Sky Bet League Two, a side Neil Aspin is very wary of.
The U’s have won three of their last five league fixtures as they chase down the top seven, but the Valiants will also go into the game in high spirits following the win at Carlisle, one which made it successive league victories.
“Colchester are in good form at the moment and they got a positive result last time out in a run of good results,” said Aspin.
“Their confidence is high, they’re scoring goals and they’re going to be a really difficult nut for us to crack.
“We know what to expect, so we’ve just got to make sure that we prepare properly in order to give ourselves the best chance of getting a result.
“It will be a difficult game and they will test us, but we’ve got to go into it looking for a positive outcome and hopefully we can come back with something."
Last Tuesday’s Emirates FA Cup clash with Yeovil Town epitomised the character amongst the squad, with Vale twice fighting back with nine men before going down 3-2 after extra-time.
Aspin admits that he has ‘no doubts’ about how determined his players are to pick up results, and he wants to see that spirit to be on show once more this Saturday.
He said: “I’ve got no doubts about the players’ mentality and the fact that their attitude has been good since I’ve taken over.
“They have a good spirit between them and they want to do well, but it’s a difficult league and many teams are finding that it’s hard to be consistent. Lots of teams have probably dropped points where they expected to win.
“There are plenty of things you can’t predict in football, but one thing I certainly can is that it will be a tough game at the weekend.”
The manager has also been buoyed by the return of Rob Lainton, Joe Davis and Tyrone Barnett following their respective injury lay offs.
After coming on as a half-time substitute against Carlisle, the latter scored Vale’s opening goal of the afternoon and he has worked his way back into Aspin’s plans.
On the striker’s progress, he said: “Tyrone is a player that has a lot of experience and he’s somebody that I knew when I came to the club.
“But, like a lot of players, he’s got to do better at times. He’s got to work harder and put himself about in the right way on the pitch if he wants to be effective and play regularly in the team.
“He made a good contribution on Saturday and everybody is pleased because he’s a good lad. I don’t have any problems with him, but I want more from him.
“In the second half of the season he has got to get fitter and cover more ground on the pitch. If he does that, he will get more chances in front of goal.”