Manager says the staff and players won’t get carried away by three consecutive victories, with tough trip to Bristol Rovers on the horizon this weekend.
- Darrell Clarke | “Stay level-headed and keep on improving”
- Port Vale manager discusses his side’s League One form ahead of trip to Bristol Rovers this weekend
- Clarke: “It will be a good game to watch; two good teams having a go at each other. The league is competitive and they have had a great run of form like ourselves, with one or two hiccups but other than that their home form has been very consistent and they have different ways of playing.”
Darrell Clarke says the Vale must maintain a level of calm and level-headed approach to keep on improving following their return to League One.
While no doubt pleased by his side’s start to the campaign, which has the Vale climb to 9th in the table and progress to the last 16 of the Papa Johns Trophy, Clarke told the press ahead of Saturday’s trip to Bristol Rovers that both the staff and players won’t be getting carried away.
“We have had two different but good performances against two big football clubs,” Clarke explained. “We are really pleased with that obviously, but we have had a consistency in the way we work and those games have gone now, we don’t look at past results, we look at the next game, and the next game is the most important one because that’s the way football works.
“We don’t get carried away, we don’t get above ourselves, we know the work that we need to do – there is a lot of hard work needed to be done – and you never crack the game, so for me it is about staying level-headed, the players staying level-headed and trying to keep on improving performances.
“What you have to do when you go up a level is rise to those levels and you are asking the players not just to do things they are good at, but also things they are not good at. Mal Benning as an example has defended very, very well; it hasn’t been one of his main strengths but he has been good going forward, he has added that to his game and been ultra-consistent when he has played. There are a lot of players I could mention that have reached levels, but don’t let that be the ceiling – that’s key – and I said that to be boys at half-time against Plymouth, never know what your ceiling is and keep trying to improve, not just on matchdays but your daily lives, the way you train, the way you eat and the way you prepare, absorb information and keep trying to improve.”
Only three League One teams have won more points from losing positions than Clarke’s side, and he says the resilience and mindset of his players makes him “love” managing them on a daily basis.
“I am really pleased with where we are as a football club at the minute; there is a real vibe, a real togetherness about the place. Not just this week, but over a period of time,” Clarke said.
“I love my job, I enjoy coming to work and my boys make me get out of bed, if I am honest with you, because of what they give me and give the club.”
“We got beat heavily at Oxford and bounced back with a win; that is what you have to do, bounce back after bad results, bounce back if you go behind in a game – the team has done that consistently – and it is those sort of mentalities that make me love managing this group, because they don’t give in, they keep fighting and scrapping . We can be short on ability at times but when they are giving me that every day in every match, it makes you proud to manage them.”
The Vale face a Bristol Rovers side who also won promotion from League Two last season and who have enjoyed a fruitful period after a initially taking their time to adapt on their return to the third tier.
Joey Barton’s side have lost just once in their last 10 League One fixtures and Clarke anticipates a fierce test against his former club.
“It will be a good game to watch; two good teams having a go at each other,” he added. “The league is competitive, they have had a great run of form like ourselves, one or two hiccups but other than that their home form has been very consistent and they have different ways of playing.
“Joey had a fantastic career and is doing very well as a manager; a lot of people will have opinions on Joey but I take people as I find them and I have always got on well with Joey, he is doing a cracking job there.”