Nathan Smith has set his sights on helping Vale push for play off spot this season, a welcomed change of targets for him after enduring a tough couple of seasons.
Since making his debut at Braford City in August 2016, the 23 year old has gone onto play for four different managers at Vale and experienced his fair share of relegation battles. Despite the tough times, each manager has stuck by Smith and kept him at the heart of the Vale defence.
A sign of what managers see in Smith, the local lad has continued to impress whoever takes the reigns at Vale and has continued to do so under current manager John Askey.
In his fourth season at Port Vale, this will have been the first one where Smith hasn't been having to look over his shoulders as much at the relegation zone. With Askey's side currently sat 10th, three points off the play-off positions, Smith sees no reason why Vale can't push higher up the table this season.
"At the minute just to get a good season under my belt where we're not in a relegation battle because I've not been involved in that before, my aspirations for the season is to push Port Vale as high as possible and do everything I can to help the team.
"I think going forward, if I have a season where we're at the other end of the table it's only going to help me in the future.
"You could also say there's more pressure on me when we're in crisis situations, we've got to defend better and harder. If you're always winning and the balls at the other end of the pitch I've not really got a lot to do! So perhaps I can't develop that way but I'd rather that then losing every week!"
As Smith and his teammates prepare for tomorrows match against Oldham at Vale Park, a win or a draw against the Latics would extend our unbeaten run at home to eight league games.
The 23 year old was instrumental at the back alongside Leon Legge in Vale's 2-1 win away at Bradford City on Tuesday night, a game which Smith said the Vale squad had every belief of winning.
With spirits high after the first away league win of the season, the defender says it's put the team in a great position heading into the next few games.
"We knew as a group of players that going there we could win and if we perform well we could come away with what we did. It's lifted the morale in the dressing room and it's put us in good stead for the next few games coming along that we can beat anyone in this league.
"I think we've started really well so far. Last year it wasn't a great season and neither was the year before and we knew we had to change something. The gaffers come in and changed lots of things and all the players have bought into it.
"Hopefully the fans are seeing a big difference on the pitch, especially at home where we used to struggle to get results. We're now unbeaten at home still and it's a big part of our season."