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Neil Aspin previews Cheltenham Town clash

13 December 2018

Port Vale welcome Cheltenham Town to Burslem this Saturday afternoon, and Neil Aspin believes The Robins will prove a real test for his Vale side.

Following a game of mixed emotions against Morecambe, the boss believes Vale need to be much better in order to get a result this weekend against Michael Duff's Cheltenham. Just last week, The Valiants were staring defeat in the face having been 2-0 down to Morecambe with just seven minutes to play.

Antony Kay scored in the 83rd minute to bring his side back into the tie, before Tom Pope levelled proceedings as he slammed home a Scott Quigley cross. However, the drama wasn't to stop there, as just a minute after conceding, Morecambe headed up the other end to earn a penalty with just a few minutes to play. Scott Brown was the hero, diving to his right to deny A-Jay Leitch-Smith from the spot, securing a point for Aspin's side.

Despite mounting a comeback in dramatic fashion, the gaffer was far from happy with last weekend's performance and is expecting a better showing on Saturday.

He said: "We have absolutely no chance if we play like we did on Saturday. We won't go on a run lasting one game if we play like we did on Saturday and that's unfortunately where we are at.

"Sometimes the players let themselves down which they did on Saturday and that's why, to get a run of form going, the better teams in the league are consistent and that's why they do well week-in week-out.

"Even when they play badly, there isn't a lack of desire or will to play well - they are an honest bunch of players. I've said before that the modern day player can be influenced by social media. They can believe sometimes what they read, but if you've been in the game a long time you know you have to earn that respect."

The boss has also provided an injury update on the likes of Leon Legge and Mitchell Clark, as the pair could be set to return this weekend.

Legge was taken to hospital a fortnight ago having suffered an epileptic seizure in his sleep, however, he has recovered remarkably well and depending on his training levels over the next few days, Leon could return to the matchday squad this weekend. 

Clark is also set to return for the tie, having overcome his hamstring injury that has kept him sidelined for three weeks. The Aston Villa loanee was dealt a hammer blow a few weeks back, when he was forced to retire from our home fixture against Swindon Town at half-time. Mitch hasn't seen the field since, though the boss has confirmed the full-back has returned to full training and will be in contention on Saturday.

He said: "We started Leon off very slowly, but he's trained today and he's got a session tomorrow and if he comes through that alright then he'll be in contention for Saturday.

"At times on Saturday we could've done with his heading prowess at Morecambe, especially against the wind and when we were under the cosh with corners and set-pieces. He's a player that has done well for us this year but I wouldn't put any blame on the centre-halves that played on Saturday.

"Mitchell's come back, he's trained with us this week so again he's in the squad for Saturday."


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