Ricky Miller has had to be patient for an opportunity over the recent weeks, but he was back with a bang on Saturday afternoon as he fired home a second-half brace to secure all three points against Mansfield Town.
The striker stepped in for the injured Tom Pope, and his performance has certainly given John Askey something to think about ahead of Tuesday’s Sky Bet League Two fixture at home to Yeovil Town.
Miller was a menace during the 81 minutes he was on the pitch, and he almost added a third goal late on to cap off a stellar display. Despite leaving the field to a standing ovation, the 29-year-old was just delighted to get back to winning ways.
He said: “It’s a great win for us. Browny saved the penalty in the first half, and I think we more than merited the three points with the performance following that.
”That save was massive as it was a moment in the game that could’ve swung things one way or another, but today it’s gone our way.
“I hope the supporters can see that we’re starting to gel and things are coming together now, so hopefully we can have a good end to the season and they can continue to get behind us.
“In the changing room at half-time I said that, if we could keep solid and remain organised, we would score. We did that, and we managed to get the victory.”
Vale’s success over a Mansfield side who are chasing for automatic promotion will provide the squad with a huge confidence boost, and the gap between the Valiants and the bottom two now stands at seven points.
That margin could be widened even more if Askey’s men come out on top against the Glovers on Tuesday, and Miller is determined to build on his own form to help ensure his team can finish the season as strongly as possible.
He said: “I thought I put in a good performance personally against one of the best teams in the league. I hope they go on and get promoted because they’re a good club, but it’s a great result for us.
“I could’ve had a hat-trick, so if they had equalised I would’ve been more disappointed, but I don’t really care about all that. We got three points, and that’s the main thing - onwards and upwards.
“We’ve got Yeovil here on Tuesday and that’s another six-pointer for us, but hopefully we can kick on now.”