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Darrell Clarke | “All about the reaction now”

4 February 2023

Manager says the Vale must respond with a much better performance when Accrington Stanley visit Vale Park on Tuesday night.

  • Darrell Clarke | “All about the reaction now”
  • Port Vale manager says actions will speak louder than words when the Vale look to respond to Wycombe Wanderers defeat against Accrington Stanley on Tuesday night
  • Clarke: “This is where you see the real, genuine characters; the togetherness in the group is outstanding but it will be shown on the pitch on Tuesday night, words are cheap and it was a poor performance in front of our own fans.”

Port Vale manager Darrell Clarke said he is looking for a strong reaction from his side on Tuesday night when Accrington Stanley come to Burslem, after a disappointing 3-0 defeat to Wycombe Wanderers at Vale Park.

Late goals from Joe Jacobson and Garath McCleary followed an earlier strike from Brandon Hanlan that had separated the sides for the majority of the previous 78 minutes.

Reflecting post-match, Clarke told iFollow the Vale actions will speak louder than words.

“Talk is cheap,” he said. “It was a very, very poor performance from ourselves and it will now be about the reaction on Tuesday night – that is what I said to the players.

“We were naïve at times, there was nowhere near enough character, and it is not about words after the game, it is about a reaction.

“The boys have an opportunity Tuesday night to show me who is up for it; you start looking for proper characters and I stand at the front of that queue to make sure that I pick the right team, the right shape and make sure that the characters on the pitch show they can perform and respond to a really poor performance.

“Momentum and confidence can go both ways and I will be standing right at the front of the queue to make sure that we prepare as well as we can and prepare better for Tuesday night. We have a chance on Tuesday night to go 10th with a game in hand so it’s not all doom and gloom, but we have to put a lot better performance on.

“This is where you see the real, genuine characters; the togetherness in the group is outstanding but it will be shown on the pitch on Tuesday night, words are cheap and it is a poor performance in front of our own fans.”

Clarke says it was clear to see that his side didn’t handle the know-how of a Wycombe side that have finished in the top six in their last two League One seasons, either side of their one-season stay in the Championship.

“I am trying not to be too harsh or too negative but the performance was a mile off from the standards that we have hit at some points of this season,” Clarke explained. “It also shows me how far away we are from being a top eight team, against a Wycombe side that has been up into the Championship. They showed experience and nous – I don’t think they put three or four passes together all game but they win the game at a canter 3-0 – whereas we don’t look like scoring at the minute and that needs to change. We have done a hell of a lot of work in training, hitting the back of the net for fun in training but it counts on the big pitch on the big day.

“We had chances in the first half hour but then we gave a really poor goal away; we were sloppy in possession and then they came straight through the middle of us.

“We then have a few chances; Dennis [Politic] has a free header in the middle of the box, Mal [Benning] has a couple of chances but we huffed and puffed with no real, genuine quality at times but the alarming thing is that I didn’t see enough character in the team and in the performance.”

The manager also gave an update on new signing Matty Taylor and injured duo Ellis Harrison and James Wilson.

“Ellis has now managed to get a boot on after having an impact injury at Forest Green from which there was bad bruising on the heel,” Clarke added.

“Matty Taylor was always going to miss the first couple of games and we are hoping to have him back next Saturday as well.

“Willo has started straight line running as well so that’s good news on the injury front because we need our firepower and it shows when we are lacking that because we are not getting that end product.”


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