Tyrone Barnett admits that scoring his first goal of the season in Sky Bet League Two on Saturday has had a positive impact on his confidence.
After moving to Vale Park in the summer, the experienced striker has struggled with injuries, but he scored the opener during the victory away to Carlisle United last time out.
He played the second half up front with Tom Pope and he believes the pair can be a threat when they are in the same team.
“I think we play well together,” said Barnett.
“When one goes short the other can go long and that gives us a different outlet - he’s good to play with.
“If you communicate well it makes it a lot easier, so with him being a good talker and myself as well, it’s good.
“Getting that first league goal and being involved for 45 minutes on Saturday has done me the world of good.
“Tom has scored a lot of goals and we do need more of the other lads chipping in too, so it was great to get one and take the three points.”
With that first strike now under his belt, Barnett is focused on impressing the manager in training and forcing himself into the team more often.
On working under Neil Aspin, the striker said: “It has been good. Obviously I’ve struggled with injuries and that’s got nothing to do with the gaffer, but he’s came in, made some changes and we’re picking up results.
“Hopefully me scoring has registered for him and he can now see that me and Popey can play well together, with both of us scoring on Saturday.”
Barnett also reserved special praise for his strike partner after his 11th goal of the season lifted Vale to an important win in Cumbria.
He said: “He’s a great lad on the pitch and off it too, he’s highly rated and he scores a lot of goals - I think he’s a very good player.”
The pair will be hoping to have a similar impact on Saturday as the Valiants travel to Essex, where they will face Colchester United at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.
With the team already having to negotiate two long trips during the last week, this 400-mile round trip completes a trio of away fixtures where the distance covered has amounted to over 1,000 miles.
On the test of Colchester and the festive fixtures, Barnett added: “If we prepare right like we do every week, we’ve got every chance of getting a result on Saturday.
“The Christmas period is important and we need to get a good run of results because games are so close together.
“If we have a slip up there’s only a few days to put things right, but hopefully everyone else is celebrating Christmas and we’re picking up points.”