John Askey expressed how he believes his Port Vale side have been able to achieved a strong attacking and defensive balance so far this season.
Askey’s team have found the net 21 times so far this league campaign, with the gaffer happy with the attacking output the Vale have been generating, and is also pleased with the improvements that have been made defensively, with his side only conceding from penalties in their last two games before the weekend where they added another clean sheet.
Saturday’s fixture was the first time the Valiants were unable to score at home all season however, and when reflecting on the game the boss again stressed how frustrating the match was and how he was disappointed that the team couldn’t pick up back to back wins after the victory on the road at Bradford City.
The key for Askey now is to maintain the defensive prowess that has been built up, and get back to the free-scoring ways shown in games such as the 3-1 win over Morecambe, with the boss highlighting how they struggled to get in behind Oldham and break them down to gain all three points.
He said: “I think we’ve done it [achieved the balance], prior to Saturday’s game the only goals that we’d given away were through penalties and dubious penalties at that, and we’d scored at the other end, so we’re not far away.
“It’s one of those games that’s frustrating, we knew going into the game that if we could get the three points then it would have left us in a really healthy position, looking back we’ve not lost but obviously we were looking to do better.
“I said in an interview a couple of weeks ago when we weren’t keeping clean sheets, as soon as we keep a clean sheet then we’ll stop scoring at the other end and that was the case, if we’d had scored early on then that would’ve made a difference… we needed to get in behind them and we failed to do that.”
The gaffer looked back on the season so far and discussed how far the team has come however, with the side developing into the system that he has employed and with them achieving an identity, with a clear set-up and style on the pitch.
A philosophy of setting out to attack teams and win games has been put into place according to Askey, who sees no reason why his side should not set out to defeat every team in the league, as they can compete with anyone on their day, as shown by results like the win at Bradford.
The next test for Askey and his side comes in the form one of Vales biggest games of the season, an away trip to local rivals Crewe Alexandra who are flying high at the top of the table on an eight match unbeaten run, but the gaffer is excited for the clash and is confident that Vale can more than match the Alex.
He said: “We’ve got an identity now, I think when I watched the club prior to coming in you didn’t really know how the team was going to set up, I think now the supporters know what we’re trying to do.
“We’re attacking, we try and close down teams quickly, whatever system that is that’s the way we want to play, we want to be aggressive and try and win games, we’re not prepared to sit back and let the opposition come at us, we think we’re good enough to go and get at teams.
“At the start of the season it’s [Crewe] the one you look forward to, it’s going to be a good atmosphere and we did well last year against them, hopefully that’ll be the same, they’ve improved massively this year and they’re the team to beat at the moment, but we go there confident.”