After helping Vale record a clean sheet during Saturday's emphatic opening day victory over Cambridge United, Nathan Smith is determined to ensure he and his teammates continue in the same vein.
Ricky Miller's debut goal and a brace from Tom Pope secured all three points for the Valiants, but Smith was encouraged by the defensive display as the back four limited the opposition to minimal opportunities.
With a trip to Colchester United next on the agenda in Vale's Sky Bet League Two campaign, the defender insists there is a real unity amongst everyone at the club and he is hopeful of picking up another positive result.
“Last year we didn’t do enough to keep clean sheets, so to start off with one this season is a massive positive," he said.
“Hopefully we can continue to get more because as a defender, that’s what you aim for first and foremost. If we can do that and nick a goal up the other end, we have a good chance of getting three points every week.
“We’ve worked on a lot of different shapes during pre-season, experimenting with back threes and fours, but come matchday, the gaffer chose to go with the four.
“Everyone knew exactly where they needed to be, so I thought we looked quite solid and it felt disciplined as well.
“Going through pre-season we perhaps didn’t pick up as many wins as we would’ve liked, but come matchday it all came together and we got the win.
“There is definitely a positive feeling around and everyone is experiencing the feel good factor around the place - hopefully we continue to do so and keep the run going.”
Neil Aspin decided to hand Connell Rawlinson a starting berth in the heart of the back line at the weekend, and having built up a partnership during pre-season, Smith was impressed by the 26-year-old.
Scott Brown also made his competitive debut in goal for the Valiants following his summer move from Wycombe Wanderers. He pulled off a crucial save an hour into the contest, and the defender was full of praise for the experienced 'keeper too,
He said: "Having Browny behind us is a massive help, he’s always speaking to you and making sure you’re switched on.
“Even if it’s not important information, it makes sure you’re alert to where your man is and he doesn’t allow you to lose concentration.
“I’ve enjoyed playing with Connell too. He’s very happy to play a high line and he’s comfortable defending one-on-one as well, so it’s definitely a good partnership and I look forward to being involved with him.”