Following the departure of Gary Brabin to Blackpool in September, Danny Pugh has been given the responsibility of aiding the first team in a coaching role and the 35-year-old admits he has thoroughly enjoyed it.
Having played in every professional division of English football and with a wealth of playing experience to pass on, he has been working with both the first team and the academy. Yet to make an appearance so far this season, he is making the most of the opportunity to develop as a coach.
Despite not looking too far ahead, Pugh is open to pursuing a career in coaching when his playing days do come to an end, and he is relishing the opportunity to pick the brains of Lee Nogan and Ronnie Sinclair in order to assist the manager in any way he can.
He said: "I've really enjoyed what I've done up to now. It's obviously still very new to me, but the bits I've done so far have been really good. When I came in for pre-season I was solely a player, but I had spoken to the gaffer about helping with a few bits - that has just been fast-forwarded a bit.
"Coaching has been in my sights for four or five years and I wanted to get the qualifications whilst still playing, so it's something I had been looking at and it's a natural progression at my age, just testing the water to see if I enjoy it and to discover if I'm good at it or not.
"I got involved last season with the academy and that has given me a taste for it which helped, but I've thoroughly enjoyed it. It's completely different to the playing side of it and it was strange to start with, but the lads have been brilliant when I've taken them.
"I'm very grateful that the gaffer has given me a chance to assist on this side of things. Lee and Ronnie have been a massive help to me as well and all of the staff have been great to me - I'm just trying to learn as much as possible from them and then I'll see what happens."
The Valiants host Burton Albion in the Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday evening and that provides the squad with an opportunity to bounce back from successive defeats in Sky Bet League Two, but Pugh insists that the mentality in the changing room is strong.
Whether the midfielder features out on the grass or in the dugout remains to be seen, but he knows that he has to be positive regardless of what role he is handed. Prior to the losses to MK Dons and Grimsby Town, Vale had put together a four-game unbeaten run, and Pugh believes that provides a level of encouragement.
He said: "It's perfect to have a game so soon after two defeats. We are obviously all disappointed with the last week, but this gives everybody an opportunity to get back to winning ways against decent opposition in Burton Albion.
"We were on the back of a good run and everyone was buzzing a week or so ago, but it just shows how quickly things can change in football. We just have to make sure we don't get carried away whether we win or lose, it's just about getting that consistency and getting back to how we were two or three matches ago.
"It will turn if you keep doing the right things and the results will come. You have to have confidence in what you're doing as a player and from the coaching perspective too, but there is a great attitude in the squad and the lads are working hard as a group."