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Interviews

Neil Aspin: "It's been a good night. I'm grateful for the supporters that came tonight"

9 January 2019

Port Vale progressed to the Quarter-Finals of the Checkatrade Trophy last night with a win via penalties over Shrewsbury Town, however Neil Aspin is not getting ahead of himself with Colchester United just around the corner.

Ryan Sears had the visitors in the lead with 63 minutes on the clock of the cup tie, as he powered a header past Scott Brown in the Vale net following a deep cross from the left-hand side. 

However, in typical fashion, Tom Pope was on-hand to level proceedings with just seven minutes of regular time to play, as he tapped in his 99th goal in a Port Vale shirt.

The fate of the third tie was left down to penalties and two Scott Brown saves and a cool Luke Hannant finish, ensured The Valiants' progression to the quarter-final of the cup competition.

Just 180 minutes away from a potential trip to Wembley, Aspin ensures he is just concentrating on our upcoming tie with Colchester.

He said: "You can ask the Wembley question when you get to the semi-final, and you're only one step away. Now, we're still a long way off.

"I've got Saturday's game to think about now, but I'd much rather be going into that after getting through tonight than if we'd lost on penalties.

"It's been a good night. I'm grateful for the supporters that came tonight because it's not everybody's favourite competition, but they've been rewarded with a win."

Following the tie, the boss admitted he couldn't bring himself to watch a single penalty of the shoot-out, going off the reaction of the crowd to determine the result.

Having overcome The Shrews 4-3 from the spot, Aspin has confirmed that this is still an extremely important competition to him and that a penalty shoot-out win like last-night's can provide everyone with a much needed lift.

He said: "Ever since we've been in this competition, I've been dreading going to penalties because normally there's extra-time but in this competition it's straight to penalties and you know that anything can happen."

When asked if he watched, the boss replied: "No! I didn't watch any of the penalty shoot-out because I've been involved in a few and I don't think I've ever won one. 

"I thought if I just listen to the cheers then I'll know what the score is. I didn't want to watch because I realised, some people might not think this competition is important but to me, it is important and to the players, they wanted to progress. 

"If we'd have lost on penalties it would've been another downer, and we've just come into the new year so we want to be as positive as possible and this gives everybody a lift."


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