PREVIEW: Notts County v Port Vale

Vale take on second placed Notts County in their own back yard this afternoon in a fixture that holds no fears for Neil Aspin’s side following their recent run of good form.

Not many will have expected to see the Vale take 13 points from their last 15 games, especially when looking at the teams listed in their fixture list over the Festive Season.

But the Valiants have confounded all critics, not only with some superb performances, but more importantly, with the final results.

Even die-hard Vale fans couldn’t have predicted the outcome of their recent encounter against leaders Luton Town, who were dispatched with apparent ease on Saturday.

A single point out of the two games against Coventry on Boxing Day and then the visit of the leaders was perhaps as much as we could genuinely hope for, but the team’s determination shone through, returning all six points.

The mood going into the New Year is the complete opposite to how the fans felt just three months ago, when club legend Neil Aspin returned to Vale Park with a mammoth task facing him.

We have all seen a gradual improvement and perhaps expectations have been lifted to an extent that is a tad unrealistic – or is it?

The Magpies won’t be going into this game thinking they can just turn up and take the prize, that’s for sure – make no bones about it, this is a tough fixture for BOTH sides.

The home side go into the game on the back of a defeat after losing to Swindon on their travels at the weekend, while Vale will be cock-a-hoop.

Aspin will no doubt make sure his players’ feet are firmly on the ground and will reiterate the fact that they are not out of the woods just yet.

A strong contender for the December Manager of the Month, Aspin said: “I am going to disappoint everybody by saying that we are still in a relegation fight because we haven’t got enough points.

“We cannot be complacent, supporters cannot be complacent. We have to keep getting behind the team and doing what we are doing for longer.”

There is plenty of hard work to do and the manager will drill home that any relative success they have had so far has been achieved with hard graft as much as anything else.

Dave Johnson – 6TR


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