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James Gibbons happy to be back in the starting XI

3 March 2020

Valiants full-back James Gibbons has said it was great to be back involved in Vale’s 2-2 home draw with Scunthorpe.

Gibbons’ yellow card in Vale’s 1-0 at Northampton at the start of February was his tenth of the season, meaning a two-game suspension and Vale’s run of form since that game has meant it has been a challenge for Gibbons’ to earn his place back in the side.

“It’s great to be back. As a footballer you want to play every game that you can.”

“Smith went to right-back when I was suspended and there were no complaints from me that I wasn’t in the side the next week.”

The final game of Gibbons’ two-match ban was a 3-0 victory over play-off rivals Colchester at Vale Park.

“The starting eleven that played that day (against Colchester) deserved to play the next game, and there were no complaints from me.”

Shaun Brisley’s unfortunate injury meant that Gibbons was given a chance in Saturday’s game against the Iron, with Nathan Smith returning to a centre-back position.

“Brisley’s just got unfortunate with his injury and then Smith went to right-back and did a great job, but then Brisley’s got injured again, which gives another person a chance to come back in and that’s the way football goes.”

And Gibbons certainly doesn’t take his slot in the starting eleven for granted, after impressive performances from others who have filled his slot at right-back this season.

“At the start of the season, Will Atkinson slotted in there (at right-back) and did a great job and kept me out the team for a couple of games then.”

“You can’t take it for granted that your place is safe in the team and expect to play every week, because that’s not the way it’s going to go.”

Despite his delight at returning to the starting eleven, the Valiants right-back was disappointed with the outcome of Saturday’s match.

“The mood is positive, but disappointed from the weekend.”

“It felt like a loss at full-time, especially with the two goals being so preventable, but the fact that we’ve drawn a game and it feels like a loss is a positive in itself.”

Whilst the squad are happy with the current position, Gibbons and his team-mates won’t be getting ahead of themselves ahead of the final ten games.

“We’ve took it game-by-game and we’ve slowly crept into the play-offs.”

“We take it one game at a time and these ten games are massive, but we all know what the squad is capable of and what we can achieve, so it’s about putting it together for the last ten games.”

And ahead of Saturday’s game against Cheltenham at Whaddon Road, Gibbons says the squad are feeling confident.

“We’ve been there in the FA Cup in the result and we’ve done okay against them in the league.”

“We know what they’re about and hopefully we can get the three points down there.”

“They’ve just opened up a little gap between us and them so it’d be good to drag them back to where we are and for us to get closer to the top three.”


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