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John Askey: "The supporters are a big reason as to why we stayed up."

5 May 2019

After watching his side earn a deserved draw away to promotion-winning Bury on the final day of the 2018/19 campaign, John Askey was proud with the performance, but he reserved special praise for the travelling supporters.

Just short of 1,000 Vale fans made the trip to Gigg Lane and they were fantastic from the first whistle to the last, and the manager was overwhelmed by the reception they gave him and the players following the game.

Since taking his place in the dugout back in February, Askey has steered the Valiants to safety in Sky Bet League Two, but he insists that the supporters have played a massive part in ensuring their side will continue to compete in the Football League.

He said: "I was amazed at the turnout today considering we had nothing to play for, but they've been terrific since I've come in. The support that they've given the players and myself, it's a big reason as to why we stayed up.

"As we've spoken about at Notts County as an example, the supporters really got the players going and it does make a difference. 

"Hopefully we can get a few more coming in next season and that we can play decent football, but it can't just be that, it has to be winning football as well.

"If you're in charge of a football club or if you're a player, you want to win things - you want to do it for everybody at Port Vale. It's going to be tough because we've been dicing with relegation for the last two years, but if I'm still here, I feel as though it's achievable. 

"I know from my time in management that anything is possible if you get the right group of players and you get the spirit going. With the support that we've got as well, we're capable of anything and there's a real feel-good factor around the place."

One man who could be key to any potential success is Tom Pope and he scored Vale's goal against the Shakers on Saturday afternoon, slotting home his 14th of the season to give his team the lead before Jordan Rossiter levelled on the stroke of half-time.

Given the fact his men were up against a very strong Bury outfit, Askey was delighted with the application of his squad in a game that could've been taken lightly given the circumstances.

However, with the pressing game part of his identity as a boss, he was pleased to see the Valiants cause Ryan Lowe's promoted side all sorts of problems in a fixture that was full of entertainment for everyone in attendance.

Askey said: "We played well and some of the football was as good as we've played since I arrived here, but it was a shame that we couldn't score more goals.

"I was just pleased that we put on a performance for the supporters, and although we didn't get a win, it was an admirable draw.

"Sometimes it's frustrating because you see how the players can play, but there has to be more consistency because if they can get that we will finish a lot higher up the table next season.

"I'm just pleased that we are still in the league because when you see teams like Notts County dropping out, it shows that it can happen to anybody. 

"It's been satisfying to know that we're safe and it means that little bit more to me coming from Stoke-on-Trent. The last thing I wanted to do was to take the Vale down - I was dreading that - but I thought I could help and to stay up means a great deal."


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