Assistant manager on instilling belief in the players after positive first half of the 2022/23 season.
- Andy Crosby | “If we don’t think we can do it, we will never do it”
- Port Vale’s assistant manager speaks to the press ahead of Monday night’s League One clash against Peterborough United (8pm kick-off)
- Crosby: “They have got really, really good players and we will have to be right at the top of our game to compete and try and win the game.”
Port Vale’s assistant manager Andy Crosby says the staff and players have used the fortnight since our New Year’s Day win at Forest Green Rovers to refresh and look forward to the second half of the campaign with a positive mindset.
The Vale were 9th in League One following their win at the New Lawn, though dropped to 10th following last weekend’s fixtures, and now return to action on Monday night when we host Peterborough United at Vale Park (8pm kick-off).
Speaking about the period without a competitive fixture, Crosby said:
“With having a short summer break between the Play-Off final and returning in early July with a small group of players, we looked at this as a gap in the calendar to give everyone a refresh, to go away and reflect on what they had done in the first half of the season as players and as staff.
“We have got to this stage with 24 games played, we are 10th in the league and have done really well over the past 24 months, but football is all about the future and how we continue to progress.
“That was our message to the players this week; we had a 40-minute meeting with the players yesterday to say we had done well, take the pat on the back, but you can become Championship players if you want, you can get a double-promotion – it’s within touching distance – so don’t let the opportunity go and we need to get better in these areas of the pitch.”
While recognising that the task of finishing in the top six of League One this season is a significant challenge, Crosby stressed that without belief, further success wouldn’t be possible.
“It’s incredibly difficult when, for example, Ipswich have got several number 9s, they’re top of the league, have recruited early and strengthened as soon as they possibly can,” Crosby said of the competition the Vale face.
“The gap from League Two to top end League One is really big, but for our individual players and for us as a football club that has to be our aim, to go and play Championship football. Some of the players will do, some won’t, the club might get there, the club might not get there, but if we haven’t got the ambition, drive and consistencies to try to get there, then what’s the point in being here?
“To get into the top six in the next 22 games is a big, big ask, but why can’t it be done? Why can’t we do it? There is nothing stopping us, we can only stop ourselves by convincing ourselves we can’t do it, so we have to improve, individually and collectively, we have to get better on the training pitch, our performances have to get better, and if we do all of those things, we are giving ourselves the best chance. If we don’t think we can do it, we will never do it.”
Naturally, the January transfer window amplifies focus on player recruitment and Crosby said the Vale will work smart in their strategy to find ways to compete with other League One clubs.
“We can’t compete with Ipswich, Sheffield Wednesday, Peterborough, Plymouth, Derby, Charlton, Oxford, Barnsley, Bolton and some others financially, it’s impossible for us to compete,” Crosby explained.
“What we can offer, though, is different things. If the right player wants to come to us and he can see how the club has progressed, how the players are progressing individually, how our game model is changing, how we are trying to develop our style, then he will come. If he doesn’t think it is the right place for them, then he won’t and that is entirely down to the player.”
On Monday’s game, Crosby added that he expects a tough test from Posh, who recently appointed Darren Ferguson as manager for a fourth time.
Ferguson’s first game in his fourth spell will add a further dynamic to Monday’s game at Vale Park as the Vale look to improve on what was an ultimately disappointing reverse fixture, when Posh ran out 3-0 winners.
“They battered us away from home, deservedly beat us 3-0 and could – probably should from their perspective – have been more,” Crosby continued.
“They are a really good side with really good individuals within their group and have yo-yoed League One to Championship for a number of years.
“They have just changed the manager for whatever reasons they decided, Darren [Ferguson] goes back in having had success at Peterborough before. That makes our planning a little bit more difficult in terms of what they might do, but we have to prepare for the best Peterborough team to come here and try and reignite their season.
“They were spoken about in pre-season to get immediate promotion back to the Championship and they may be slightly disappointed with where they currently are in the league, but they have got really, really good players and we will have to be right at the top of our game to compete and try and win the game.”