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Neil Aspin looks ahead to Saturday's home clash with Stevenage

16 March 2018

Following two away draws against Grimsby Town and Barnet respectively, Vale return to Burslem this weekend and Neil Aspin is hoping that his side can start transforming their performances into wins.

The manager insists that the Valiants did enough to win both fixtures during the last week, but with leading goal scorer Tom Pope sidelined through injury, the onus is on the other attackers to find the net more freely.

Anton Forrester did score Vale's equaliser at Barnet on Tuesday night, but Aspin wants to see his more creative players come to the fore and carve out more opportunities for the team. 

"I think both games we have deserved to win. Certainly for the Grimsby game and then for large parts at Barnet, we were the better team," the gaffer said.

"We obviously wanted to win both of them, but I was suitably encouraged by the performances which showed that we can pick up points in the remaining games of the season.

"We have probably passed the ball better in the last couple of matches and we need to continue that on Saturday. It would be justified to criticise that in the last few home games, we haven't created enough chances.

"We haven't worked the opposition goalkeeper enough and we are going to have to do that over the remainder of the season if we want to win games. To do that, we need to be on the front foot for longer periods.

"I think there is a lack of confidence and when you know the result is important, it's human nature to not want to make a mistake. When you look through the team there are certainly more footballers in it than players who can just go route one - they have got to get on the ball and be brave."

Despite not winning since the dominant victory over Luton at the end of December, the Valiants are now beginning to pick up points once more and they have not lost at home in Sky Bet League Two since November.

Stevenage travel to Vale Park with one of the poorer away records in the division, but Aspin knows it will be another difficult test and his players will have to perform well to have any chance of securing a win.

He said: "You are glad to be back at home if you are going to get a result, but when you have had a couple of games away from here you look at your home games to pick up the points and get the wins that we need to get to safety.

"We have had a couple of long journeys, but the players have had time to rest this week and I'm not expecting any problems going into the next two games in terms of fitness. The games are so vital that shouldn't be a problem at all."

On the injuries in the squad, Aspin added: "I think Kyle Howkins did well in the Grimsby game, but he was injured on Tuesday so Charlie Raglan got a chance and he came through it well. That gives us more competition in that area.

"You also had Joe Davis who has been playing well and he came off injured, but he doesn't want to lose his place and he is desperate to play again. I don't anticipate any issues with his fitness as he has had a couple of days on the treatment table.

"I would like to think we are going into Saturday's game - apart from the two players who have had operations (Antony Kay and Tom Pope) - with everybody else available."


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