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Interviews

The gaffer expecting tough test against MK Dons

1 October 2018

Although his Port Vale side head into Tuesday night's showdown with MK Dons in fine form, Neil Aspin admits that the Valiants will need to be at the top of their game if they want to stretch their unbeaten run to five games.

The Dons are without a win in their last five Sky Bet League Two fixtures, but Aspin is wary that they can be a very dangerous team to face when they are playing to their full potential.

Despite the gaffer expecting a tough test, he has been pleased with his squad's performance levels during the last few weeks and he is demanding that the high standards continue to be displayed.

He said: "I think Milton Keynes are a very good footballing team from what I've seen on the clips. They try to play like Manchester City in terms of making the pitch big, playing out from the back, and having centre-backs willing to push high in a really expansive game.

"They are a side who can cause you problems if it all clicks together. At the moment they're probably just waiting for that to happen, but when it does they will fancy their chances. 

"It's a team that will present different problems for us, but we have to see if we can impose ourselves onto them and cause them issues."

With Tuesday's game marking the beginning of a hectic October that sees Vale play eight matches, the manager is keen for every member of the squad to be on their toes so that they can perform if selected.

One player who has recently come back into the team is Nathan Smith, and having featured in the heart of defence alongside Leon Legge, Aspin has been encouraged by the response of the 22-year-old.

He said: "I think he was excellent at Crewe and he did really well in that game. He possibly got overshadowed a little by other people, but he was brilliant. 

"Then on Saturday, himself and Leon stood up to the challenge of dealing with Jayden Stockley who is a very good player. He gave the type of performance you need from a centre-half - he battled, he scrapped and he fought for headers.

"You need your two central defenders playing well together if you are going to do well because they set the stall for the rest of the team.

"He has a lot of different partners, but hopefully he can now get a run of games where he can play with the same person to get an understanding. If they can do that, it will be a great benefit to the team."


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