Lee Nogan admits that December was a very positive month for Vale as they picked up 13 points to climb away from the relegation places in Sky Bet League Two, but he isn’t getting carried away.
Defeats to Notts County and Forest Green Rovers during the last week have disrupted the Valiants’ good rhythm, but the assistant manager insists that everybody at the club has to take things on a game-by-game basis.
Following the disappointment of Saturday’s result, he is looking for a response from the players as they host Yeovil Town at Vale Park this weekend.
He said: “You always look forward to the next game whether you win, lose or draw, but after a disappointing performance going forward on Saturday, we want to put things right.
“I thought it had a nil-nil written all over it because both teams were poor on the day and they’ve scored a goal out of nothing.
“From our point of view, we were disappointed at how we played because we have been doing really well lately.
“December was a great month for us - to come out with the points we have is excellent. The players have been fantastic, and you get a lot of games over Christmas so recovery is important.
“In the week building up to the Forest Green game, we didn’t get as much preparation done as we wanted because of the weather, but that’s no excuse.
“You can’t fault the effort of the players and the quality in most of those games, but it was only Saturday for me really where we’ve let ourselves down.”
Given the improved performances of late, Nogan believes the current group of players have proved that they are good enough to pick up points in the division.
Neil Aspin will still look to bolster his squad during the transfer window, but the character of the group has shone through recently and that has pleased the staff at Vale Park.
“We’re trying to strengthen, but it’s important that we bring in the right type of player for the club and not rush into anything,” said Nogan.
“Whoever you play in this league, whether they’re top or bottom, they always give you a tough game, but we’ve shown we can compete with anyone.
“We’ve beaten the top teams, but it can be easier mentally to give an extra five per cent when you’re playing the likes of Luton, Notts County and Coventry. It shouldn’t be, but that’s the way it is.
“They seem to rise to the occasion more, and that’s the same in any league. It’s also about the mentality of the players when we’re playing the teams in and around us.
“Nothing has changed since the day we came in - the remit was to stay in the league. I think certain people might get carried away because we’ve beaten the top teams.
“Of course, we want to climb the table, but there is realism involved too. From now until the end of the season it’s going to be tough, but we can compete with anyone in this league.”