Assistant manager Dave Kevan heaped praise onto the players for how well they performed as Vale secured that first away win of the season that they knew they were “always capable” of achieving.
The Vale travelled to high-flying Bradford City and right from the first minute took the game to them, with David Worrall scoring the opening goal in a half that pleased Kevan, as the team pressed well and forced the hosts onto the back foot.
A late controversial penalty saw the Bantams draw level on the stroke of half-time but again the side impressed Kevan in the second period as they put in a solid defensive display and kept battling until the very last minute.
The win was a big moment for the players and staff as it gets that monkey off their back and confirms what they all knew, that they were capable of picking up that first away win and Kevan said how much the team deserve to celebrate as they worked hard and earnt a huge three points on the road.
He said: “We set out to try and pose them a threat, which we did, we didn’t want to be camped in our own half, we wanted to try and press the ball high up the pitch and we did that and we caused them all sorts of trouble in the first-half and if we’d have gone in leading at half-time I don’t think anyone would’ve complained.
“He [Atkinson] certainly made a contribution there this evening and we’re delighted for Will, he’s a top pro and he deserves that tonight, the gaffer felt it was time to make a little change in the midfield, we felt Will’s experience in such a fiery high tempo game would help us towards the latter stages of the game, I can’t say we expected him to go and get the winner.
“They’re [the players] entitled to be full of it tonight, they’ve put in an absolutely fantastic performance, delighted to get the win for our travelling fans, we know how much they’ve suffered on the road this season but we always felt we were capable of winning away and there’s no better place than to come here and win tonight.”
It was not just the players that Kevan piled praise upon, as he commended manager John Askey for how he has been all season, sticking to his ideology and implementing it throughout the squad, and once again it has reaped rewards and seen the Vale climb to 10th in the table and just three points off a Play-Off position.
The way the gaffer has remained calm and not allowed for the away results to affect his approach and style was applauded by Kevan who said how the whole dressing room is happy for Askey as he has earnt credit for how hard he has worked this season.
Although it’s important to soak in and enjoy the three points, Kevan emphasised how the message from himself and the gaffer now is that the drive and focus must be maintained and carried into Saturday’s home clash against Oldham Athletic as the Vale aim to extend their unbeaten home run to eight games and continue to climb the table.
He said: “The gaffer’s been very consistent with how we’ve gone about the work and what he wants from his players, nothing’s changed and hopefully we can start to reap the benefits of it.
“He [Askey] does stay calm and people mistake that for being a little bit laid-back, but I can assure you he’s not laid-back when he’s working with those players so credit to him and we’re all delighted tonight.
“The gaffer’s just rounded the night up, obviously delighted, fantastic the boys have been tremendous, but get our minds on Saturday now and it’s important that we back this up with a back to back win.”