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Interviews

Neil Aspin on Anton Forrester and Ben Whitfield

8 February 2018

Neil Aspin will have a few decisions to make this weekend as his Vale side travel to Cheltenham Town in Sky Bet League Two, and with Anton Forrester impressing for the Reserves on Tuesday, he could be in contention.

The 23-year-old scored a hat-trick before being substituted at half-time during the 6-0 demolition of Mansfield Town in The Central League at Vale Park, and he is now the Valiants' top scorer in the reserve team.

Aspin watched the encounter and he was impressed with the striker, insisting that Forrester has done himself 'no harm' when it comes to pushing for a place in the first team squad for this weekend's fixture.

"He has not done his chances any harm for Saturday. If you have a reserve game you want players to give a good account of themselves and make you think about selecting them for the next match," Aspin said.

"Anton has came on as substitute in the last couple of matches, but it was good for him to get some goals on Tuesday and he will be considered for Cheltenham.

"Everybody looks at Anton and they can see that there is a player there who has got potential. We are trying to get the best out of him and getting him to perform regularly.

"He is a player who possesses a lot of good attributes, but it is a case of who can get those out of him and whether or not he can do it himself - can he perform week in, week out?

"If he can do that, he could forge the career that he wants. Sooner or later the penny has to drop and it has to be down to the player.

"Because Anton has had injuries, I think they have affected him so psychologically he has been worried about breaking down. Until he overcomes that hurdle and he can let himself go - trusting in his body to deal with the physical demands - hopefully we can see the best of him out on the pitch."

Another player who the manager will have at his disposal is Ben Whitfield, and having seen the best of the midfielder, he is hoping that the on-loan AFC Bournemouth man can reignite the kind of form he showed during December.

Vale are yet to win since the turn of the year and they head into the weekend on a run of two consecutive draws, but Aspin wants every player to keep battling as his side search for three points in Sky Bet League Two. 

He said: "As a team we have not played well recently so you could say that a lot of players have been inconsistent. 

"With regards to Ben, he is at his best when he works as hard as he can. When he is prepared to cover every blade of grass, whether it is wide or behind the striker, that is when he is at his best.

"That is all we have ever asked of him, to put in that work rate, but he and the team have not been at that level since the Luton game.

"I think Ben's attitude has never been in doubt, but you have to do your talking on the pitch. 

On preparation for Saturday's fixture, Aspin added: "I have the team that will be playing, but I have given it a lot of thought and when you are not winning games, the tendency is always to change things.

"You have to look at all things, but you also have a basic core who form the majority of the team every week - there won't be wholesale changes.

"Cheltenham have changed some personnel and they have switched formation from when we played them at home. We are all desperate to get points and every game is difficult, but we have to be confident, play our own game and be brave."


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