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John Askey praises the strength of his squad ahead of Oldham clash

25 October 2019

The Vale have suffered frequent injuries to key players so far this season, but with the majority of the squad fit again, the gaffer is impressed with the players who have had to step in.

Natural midfield player, Will Atkinson, has had to fill in at right-back on occasions this campaign, and Askey is pleased with his ability to cover various positions on the pitch. Cristian Montano also had to play out of position on Tuesday as he replaced an ill Adam Crookes at left-back.

Top goal scorer Richie Bennett also retained his place in the starting line-up earlier this week, and his work rate and hold-up play continued to impress the gaffer.

The Vale have now lost just once in their last seven games, as well as being unbeaten at home in the league, and the boss admits that he is less likely to make changes to a winning side.

“Cristian [Montano] came in for Adam [Crookes], and had a really good game, and Will [Atkinson] when he’s played at full-back instead of James [Gibbons] has done a good job, although he’s not a natural full-back.

“He [Richie Bennett] did really well again, he worked his socks off, got hold of the ball, he’s done well. So far he’s got five goals and hopefully he can add a few more.

“When you get the chance you’ve got to take it and that’s always the message in football. If people are playing well then they will keep their shirt but the most important thing is to be in a winning team, if you’re winning team there's more chance of the team not swapping and changing."

The Vale have experienced a couple of tough seasons in a row now, but Askey admits that there is no reason why his side cannot push for a play-off spot this term, however he will not get carried away with his side's impressive form.

A 2-1 win against Bradford on Tuesday means that the Vale have lost just one game in their last seven and now sat just three points away off seventh place.

Despite an impressive win against a promotion-chasing side on Tuesday, Askey admits that there is not much between every team in the division.

“Whether we can get in the play-offs or not, only time will tell but I can't see any reason why we can’t compete with teams in this league.

“We’ve shown that we are more than capable of beating teams at the top, so if we can beat the teams at the top, there’s no reason why we can’t beat anybody, but its shown when we’ve played the likes of Morecambe and Stevenage that there’s not much difference between any team.

“We played Bradford and they were expected to beat us, so its on the day, and we've got make sure every time we play, we're up for the game."


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