Nathan Smith has credited his impressive form this season to regular game time with the same players under John Askey.
Local lad Smith has cemented himself as a central figure amongst the Vale back line alongside Leon Legge, and he believes the trust shown from the gaffer in himself and Legge has been essential to their form.
The pair have kept five clean sheets so far this campaign, and played an important role in Vale’s climb to ninth in the league, just two points off the Play-Off’s.
Smith, who has picked up three goals so far this season, also emphasised the importance good results can have on helping to keep a run of form going, with the team all enjoying playing their football.
Goalkeeper Scott Brown has also been fixed in the side behind Smith, and the defender praised his keeper as one of the best in the league despite a shaky moment against Scunthorpe United last week.
He said: “That’s definitely helped, the consistency in a back four, or anywhere on the pitch, is usually key to strong performances and good results.
“When you’re winning games you’re enjoying football, and I think that also leads to better performances and improvement in people’s game.
“Keepers when they make a mistake usually cost a goal, which is the nature of the beats, if a striker mis-controls a ball you’ve got another 10 men behind you but if he does it, it costs you a goal more times than not.
“I think last year you could see what sort of keeper he [Brown] was, he had to do a lot last year to keep us up and I think to start sending hate towards him and making bad comments about him I think is injustice to him as a keeper and his performances for Port Vale.”
Smith also expressed how much he is enjoying his time at Vale Park, stating how happy he is and how much he loves being part of the club.
Morale throughout the whole club has been something pointed as a positive all season and Smith added to that by describing how the mentality of the dressing room is the best it’s been for a while.
Smith is in his seventh year at the club and has experienced a number of highs and lows, including relegation battles, so to see the team in the position they are in now, fighting to climb the table with an eye on promotion has left him feeling really positive.
The next chance for some more joy at the club this season comes on Saturday in the form of an FA Cup second round tie away at Cheltenham Town, before taking on Mansfield Town in the Leasing.com Trophy on Tuesday.
He said: “We’re all enjoying playing football again now, when you’re losing games your head goes down and the morale around the place is not as good as it should be but with the run we’ve been on, thee team around us now, I think morale is really high.
“It’s been a rough ride, we’ve been in a relegation battle all the seasons previous to this one so it’s been tough times but I think it’s brighter futures ahead and I’m really enjoying my football here and it’s local to where I live and I think I couldn’t ask for a better club to be at at this moment in my life.
“Cup runs always give a better feel around the club, we haven’t quite. Had one in the FA Cup since I’ve been here, so to do so and perhaps get a big club down here or to get an away day at the big clubs in the Premier League maybe would be a definite bright spark in the season that we’ve had so far.”