Port Vale manager Neil Aspin has credited his players efforts after a difficult evening at Vale Park against MK Dons but feels had the Valiants sustained their positive start it could've been a different story.
The Vale started the game really well and created the better chances. Mitchell Clark's shot after his surging run into the box from full back was well saved by the Dons keeper, before Ricky Miller and Tom Conlon couldn't take full advantage of the chances they were presented in the opening stage.
Neil Aspin said it was "brave" to go with the same formation and team that ran themselves into the ground against Exeter on Saturday, but felt the start his side made justified making that choice and was pleased with the the opening stages.
Despite the bright start, Vale were dealt a huge double blow all within the space of five minutes. Manny Oyeleke was forced off due to injury and just minutes later MK Dons had the ball in the back of the net, but the gaffer was pulling no excuses after the game.
"The first 15 to 20 minutes if we could've maintained that I would've been more than happy regardless of what the score was.
"The first goal in any game is always important. If you concede like we did tonight we're then chasing the game and then that becomes difficult against a good quality opposition.
"I felt in the first 20 minutes we should've been in front and then possibly it would've been a different game. I'm not here to make excuses and we've got to regroup for Saturday."
As well as the loss, Neil Aspin faces a major headache with his team selection ahead of a busy month confirming his side picked up some knocks in the 1-0 loss against MK Dons.
Cristian Montano returned to the bench last night after a long spell out due to a knee injury but lasted just 15 minutes after coming on at half time in place of Ricky Miller. The Colombian appeared to agitate his knee injury after going in for a challenge.
The double blow of losing Montano and Oyeleke to injury alongside some players suffering knocks and bruises will force Aspin to rotate his squad, but he insists that the league is the main focus with our two Checkatrade fixtures approaching.
"We've played on Saturday and done very little in terms of training on Monday. We've walked through things and not put players under strain.
"The priority has always got to be the league. I think the cup games we're obviously going to have leave people out and play other players. We're going to have to look at maybe young players, I think everyone's going to come into the equation.
"We knew it was going to be a difficult month in terms of the number of games."