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Interviews

Connell Rawlinson eyeing clean sheet against Morecambe this weekend

15 February 2019

As Port Vale welcome Morecambe to Vale Park on Saturday afternoon in what will be John Askey's first home game in charge of the Valiants, Connell Rawlinson has insisted his priority is keeping a clean sheet before anything else.

Despite recent struggles in the league, Port Vale boast the fourth best defensive record in the league in terms of clean sheets. Only Colchester United, MK Dons and Mansfield Town have kept more than Vale's 11 clean sheets so far this season.

With fellow strugglers Morecambe making the trip to Burslem this weekend, Rawlinson has only the clean sheet on his mind ahead of the league clash.

He said: "We've not done too bad with clean sheets over the season. Overall, we've conceded more goals than I would like as a defender, but clean sheet wise, we're up there with the best in the league.

"Another clean sheet on the weekend will definitely give us a platform to build on to get the three points.

"We've been doing a lot more unit work: defence, midfield, attack. It's good because you learn the roles of other players around you, their strengths and weaknesses, rather than just training as a collective group. 

"The manager has been really hands on and I'm preferring it as a player."

Vale understand first-hand the threat that the Shrimps carry having played out a thrilling 2-2 draw at the Globe Arena earlier this season.

Goals from Antony Kay and Tom Pope inside the final ten minutes, before a Scott Brown penalty save, salvaged a point for the Valiants in Lancashire.

Having played alongside Kevin Ellison at Chester City, Rawlinson understands first-hand the threat the experienced forward provides, though Connell admits Vale can't take their eyes off any other player.

He said: "I know a couple of the lads at Morecambe from playing with Chester in my old days and Everton as a youth player.

"They're an honest bunch of lads; they're going to work hard and it's important for us to win that battle in the first 20 minutes, then we can impose our game on them early doors, being the home side.

"I played with Ellison while I was with Chester; he's a great guy. He'll leave everything out on the pitch and he's a good player. That's the reason he's still playing at his age so he will be a danger man for them.

"But, we can't take our eye off any other player because in this league, any given player can have a great game."


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