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Interviews

Neil Aspin: "It's all about fitness."

8 July 2018

Neil Aspin watched his Port Vale team draw away to Kidsgrove Athletic on Saturday afternoon, but the manager was admits that the result was not important as building fitness is the main focus during pre-season.

Several of Aspin's 11 new signings featured in the blistering heat at the NOVUS Stadium, with a couple of trialists also getting some game time. Louis Dodds struck for Vale before the hosts equalised later in the first half, and the manager was pleased with the workout his players were given.

He said: "It's all about fitness and players not getting injured at this stage. Obviously you want to play as well as you can, but in terms of the past week, we have had a good one training and the players have worked hard.

"Today was just a case of getting them on the pitch and allowing them to get minutes under their belts. I know all about non-league, so credit to Kidsgrove because they made it a really good, competitive game which is what you want.

"There was no bad tackling in the game, it was played at a good tempo and it provided a good workout. We now have a week before we play Blackburn, and not being disrespectful, it goes up a level to a team that are going to be better than us.

"That will be another test in a different way, so we have got to make sure we do a lot of work this week and then we will have the opportunity to give the players game time again against Blackburn."

Apart from Scott Brown who featured for the full 90 minutes, Aspin decided to field two differing teams for each half on Saturday and that allowed his newly constructed group of players to build match fitness.

Tom Pope was then introduced for the final part of the game, and the manager is keen to ensure everybody gets as many minutes out on the pitch as possible before the Sky Bet League Two season gets under way in August.

"We picked two teams so that everybody would get a game. Obviously I have my own thoughts about the team I want to play, but pre-season will determine that in a lot of respects," said Aspin.

"Even in today's game, some people have got to do better and others did OK, but you can't judge on one game. I remember when I used to play against Newcastle Town and we knew we would usually win comfortably, but once we got beaten 2-1 and went on to have a good season.

"What I need is to have a clear picture in my mind of which team we want to start with and how we want to play, but then we have to work hard at playing in that shape to make sure everybody knows their jobs and that they are organised - that is our aim over the next few weeks."


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