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Darrell Clarke | “We have to stick together and we will”

14 February 2023

Manager says hard work and togetherness will see the Vale through difficult run of fixtures.

  • Darrell Clarke | “We have to stick together and we will”
  • Port Vale manager Darrell Clarke reflects on 3-1 defeat to Barnsley at Vale Park
  • Clarke: “There was nothing wrong with the effort or the endeavour but we just seem to be falling short against the top six to ten teams in this division.”

Port Vale manager Darrell Clarke says the Valiants must stick together and work hard to battle their way through a challenging run of fixtures as Barnsley ran out 3-1 winners at Vale Park on Tuesday night.

Clarke’s side fell behind in the first minute to a Luca Connell strike and despite a positive response that saw Nathan Smith equalise, the Vale fell to defeat after Liam Kitching’s header from a set-piece and Adam Phillips’ deflected strike.

Reflecting post-match with iFollow the Vale as the Vale’s winless run extended to seven matches – five of which have come against teams in the top nine in the division, Clarke said:

“It was a disastrous start; we’re picking the ball out of our net after 27 seconds.

“I thought we responded really well, though, got a good goal but then conceded another sloppy goal from a set-piece and the third takes a deflection and we didn’t get back into the game.

“We huffed and puffed, there was nothing wrong with the effort or the endeavour but we just seem to be falling short against the top six to ten teams in this division. You look at the run that we are on and maybe there is a little bit of confidence lacking in the boys at times, but like I said to them in there, ‘get your heads up’, this is where you have got to stick together and we have shown that as a group over a period of time and we will show it again.

“Nights like this are hard, but they are what make you as a footballer as well. I have been there as a manager on many occasions and the boys have just got to keep working hard on the training pitch, make the things we are not doing right better and stick together, which we will be doing. The fans were superb again tonight sticking behind us, we are not giving them a lot to shout about at the minute but it will turn and that comes with hard work.”

On a positive note, Jamie Proctor added a further hour of match minutes following his long-term injury, while Clarke welcomed back Ellis Harrison from the bench and Matty Taylor made his Vale debut as a second half substitute.

And the manager says the added quality and experience coming back into the side is welcome.

“One or two players are coming back and it is nice to have some striker options coming back into the fold,” Clarke added.

“We know they are short of training and match minutes but it is nice to have players with the quality that we have to come back and hopefully that makes us a hell of a different team. It is a tough division, it is hard, relentless and we are disappointed with the run we are on at the minute having shown so much promise in the first half of the season. We have to stick together on these bad runs and we will do.

“When you are on a run like we are on, it is up to myself and my staff to make sure that the boys are coming into work confident and resetting because you always have a chance in football because games come thick and fast and we have a chance on Saturday to put it right.”

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