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John Askey: "I never think of it as Manager of the Month, it's more about the team."

9 April 2019

After overseeing his Port Vale side pick up 11 points during March, manager John Askey has been nominated for the EFL Manager of the Month award, but he has hailed the performance of everyone around the club during the recent upturn in form.

The Valiants came out on top against Mansfield Town, Yeovil Town and Northampton Town last month as well as earning draws away to Notts County and Swindon Town. They also began April in the best possible fashion as Tom Pope's second-half strike sealed a 1-0 victory at home to rivals Crewe Alexandra last weekend.

With the gap between Vale and the bottom two now at 10 points, Askey insists that there is a brilliant feeling around the place going into the last five games of the season, and he has been encouraged by the efforts of all the squad to ease the pressure.

He said: "It's great to be nominated, but I never think of it as Manager of the Month, it's about the team. It's really a reflection on them, so full credit has to go to everybody at the football club.

"Sometimes it just takes a lucky break and I wasn't doing anything differently when I first came in, but we weren't getting the results. We had about four decisions that went against us, but maybe it's a good think that it didn't happen straight away because it's made us work even harder.

"At the moment it's coming together, but in football it can quickly change so we won't get too carried away with it. I love it and you've got to make the most of days like Saturday, but we just need to keep moving onto the next one and the message to the players is to keep proving themselves.

"You can see that when they get the ball there are more options and people want it, so they are making good decisions and hopefully that will carry on."

Since arriving at Vale Park back in February, Askey and his assistant Dave Kevan have implemented a style of play that involves pressing teams high when out of possession, and this has paid dividends with results now going in the favour of Vale.

The manager admits that his priority was improving the fitness of the squad when he took his role in the dugout, and he has praised the work of Andy Davies who has led the strength and conditioning elements of training.

Adopting a more attacking approach to the play has been something Askey has been keen to do, and he admits that he is proud to see the supporters smiling once again after a difficult period.

He said: "When I came through the door I knew there was a lot of good people at the club, and if we could get it going again we would get support and that's been the case.

"It gives me a great deal of pleasure to come in on a Saturday and seeing people enjoying themselves - that's what we wanted from the start. 

"We just started with the training and getting the intensity up, but the players responded to that. You can talk about coaching and different systems, but the way you improve is by training at a high tempo because you've got to deal with things quicker and think faster.

"You could see that on Saturday we didn't give Crewe a moment of peace, and Andy deserves credit for the work he has done with the fitness of the lads. He has a great deal of experience and he's a really good bloke, so he's a great asset to Port Vale."


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