Port Vale have a break from league action over the course of the weekend before they face Shrewsbury Town in the Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday night, and Neil Aspin is determined to improve results.
Manny Oyeleke’s last-minute strike secured a point away at the league leaders last time out when Vale drew 1-1 with Lincoln City, but the manager wants to see more of that spirit from his players.
After speculation surrounding his position at the club, Aspin has now revealed that he will continue in his role as manager of Port Vale, and he is relishing the challenge of turning things around.
He said: “After giving things a lot of thought following the Lincoln game, I’ve decided that I’d like to stay at the club and fight for my job.
“I fully accept that results have been disappointing of late and we certainly haven’t made the progress that I was hoping for, but it was an extremely difficult job that I walked into.
“That’s proven to be the case and it will take time to turn things around, but my own fate won’t be decided by people who want to boo me and abuse me.
“My role will be decided by the players, so my job is in their hands. They need to show the same fight, determination and desire that they displayed in Tuesday’s game at Lincoln where I thought they were excellent.
“The chairman has also been very supportive during this tough period, but I accept that results must improve or it will put him under pressure to make a change.
“For this moment in time, I want to stay and fight for it, but it will all be about how the players perform over the next few weeks.
“If you haven’t got the backing of the players and you don’t think that they’re willing to play for you, as a manager there’s no point of you being at the club.”
After watching his side dig deep and earn that point at Sincil Bank, the manager is confident that the squad has enough character to register more positive results during the second half of the season.
Aspin acknowledges that he is likely to come under fire from supporters if the Valiants aren’t picking up points in Sky Bet League Two, but he is desperate to get the best out of the players at his disposal.
He said: “Everybody knew that the game on New Year’s Day was important and the squad responded, but they’ve got to continue to do that every week.
“I’ve got a lot of fight in me and I’ll never lie down if people are booing me or giving me stick. My whole instinct is to respond and I’ll continue to do that.
“When I get in and reflect on a game, what affects me and causes me to have sleepless nights is always the performance. Whether that be how the players are playing, what they’re not doing or the result.
“It’s never because people are on my back, that’s something I can handle. What I can’t put up with is if the players aren’t performing out on the pitch.
“Nobody likes to get criticised, but if you want to be a football manager then that’s something that just comes with the job. I’m not doing this for sympathy, I just want the players to respond and play to the best of their abilities.
“I’m not saying we will suddenly start soaring up the league, but what I want to ensure is that they are more than a match for every team that we play against.”