Manager John Askey highlighted his pleasure with the “grit and determination” shown by his players in yesterday’s 2-2 draw with Mansfield Town.
Askey’s side picked up a dramatic late point against the Stags, thanks to Nathan Smith who was able to get the crucial touch as the ball pinballed around the six-yard box right at the death yesterday.
The point extended the Valiants home unbeaten run to five games, and the gaffer, despite a disappointing first-half, was impressed with how his team fought until the very end in the second period of the game.
For the Vale to score a late goal was a nice change, having conceded late half goals against the likes of Northampton Town and Salford City, and the boss believes this displays a positive change in attitude and mentality amongst the squad.
The drive and fight shown by the players has stood out to Askey in the last few games, with the Plymouth Argyle win and Exeter City defeat both being played in difficult conditions and circumstances, but the battle on the field not being affected.
“To keep going, and to snatch the goal at the end then, feels a little bit like a win, but disappointed that we haven’t got a win.
“You can see them [Vale players] really really fighting when the ball’s gone in, previously you didn’t see that grit and determination to actually get the ball in the back of the net, but we saw that.
“It’s difficult to play, especially the way that we play, but full credit to the players, I think again the supporters can see that they’re trying their best.”
One of the big impacts on how the team have had to play has been the large amount of injuries sustained in quick succession, with four players out going into yesterday’s game and two more picked up during it.
The cause of these injuries is something that the gaffer is going to put intense focus on, as he stated how the team cannot afford for this to become a regular occurrence.
The next game for the Vale is away at Askey’s former side, Macclesfield Town, in the Leasing.com trophy, and the gaffer may have used it as a chance to experiment with his squad, but will struggle to do so now due to injuries, but there is some good news with faces starting to return to training.
“Whether it’s [the injuries] because we’ve got more athletic players who are very pacey, or it’s something that we’re doing or not doing in training, it’s something we need look at because we can’t afford to keep having players out.
“We’ll have to have a look [at the squad] Monday, Manny’s [Oyeleke] going to be training Monday, David Amoo, Jordan Archer, although I think Jordan will be a little bit longer.
“So we have got one or two coming back now, we’ll just have to see how the walking wounded are, and go from there on Monday.”