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Neil Aspin taking cautious approach with returning injured players

30 October 2018

Training numbers were on the up this morning at Vale Park, as manager Neil Aspin confirmed that defender Cristian Montatno and midfielder Manny Oyeleke took part in the session, a sight many would be pleased to see.

The pair have both experienced a frustrating start to the season after being struck by injuries, which has recently kept the pair out for the past month. Cristian Montano agitated his knee injury after coming on against Exeter, whilst Manny Oyeleke pulled his hamstring that very same game.

It was a massive blow for Neil losing the pair, and the Valiants only recently ended their poor start to October by going on a three game unbeaten run in the league. 

Their return to training would've been pleasing news for Aspin, but the gaffer has commented before he won't be rushing the pair back and wants to see them in a reserve game before featuring in any league action.

"They're making progress. This is the first time they've been available to train since they've been injured. We'll just see how they go... we'll assess how they go day to day and see how they both feel.

"You're dealing with different individuals and different mindsets. Some players need to feel that everything's alright and their minds have to be 100%, where as other players have got a bit of pain but can still play and it doesn't bother them.

"You can't treat everyone the same, you can't put the same length of time on injuries with different people because everybody's different. Hopefully we don't have a reoccurrence with Manny that he comes back and he pulls up. You just never know, but they've both had adequate time to have overcome their injuries."

The rush to get the pair back into the squad is perhaps not quite as desperate as it was given the run of form the team experienced at the start of October, compared to the results the Valiants are picking up now.

The Valiants have turned three defeats on the bounce to three games unbeaten, collecting seven points out of a possible nine going in Notts County at the weekend.

Including the 2-0 win over Middlesbrough in the Checkatrade Trophy, it's the first time in eight years that Vale have kept four straight clean sheets. It's at the other end that Aspin wants to improve, and feels the return of Manny and Cristian will help that.

"We're doing OK defensively which is getting us results, we need to score more goals as a team. You have to think that a fully fit Cristian Montano and Manny, will give us more going forward.

"The key to that is that their fit and they can perform to their best. If they did that then that would give us a boost. If the players work hard like they're doing at the moment I don't have any problems with that.

"We're all striving to get better and we'll continue to do that. If we've got more options to pick from, that'll give people in the team a bit more competition."


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