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Club News

Paul Heckingbottom's Port Vale Reaction

28 March 2016

Paul Heckingbottom gave his thoughts to the press after a fourth straight away League One victory for the Reds, and a tenth clean-sheet in 15 overall in the League.

A first half free-kick from Captain Conor Hourihane saw the Reds secure a 1-0 victory away at play-off contenders, Port Vale.

Heckingbottom said, “It’s a great result and a great four points from what we knew would be a difficult two games. We know we can play better than that, and we need to play better than that in the remaining seven league games.

“We have to pay credit to everything the boys did to keep another clean sheet which is fantastic, especially away from home and we keep saying that those clean sheets guarantee you at least a point.

“We’ve ground it out today away from home and I think that’s what we have been doing, away from home, especially.

“We would have loved to have taken one of the chances we had on the counter second half which I think would have proved massive in the state of the game, then we could have relaxed and had a different pattern in the last 15 or 20 minutes.

“We keep working on things we want to get better at and we need to get better at, but at the same time we need keep reinforcing what we are doing well and to keep another clean sheet away from home against a team that’s flying at home shows we are doing something right.

“Some of it is definitely character and some is definitely discipline and organisation.” Continued Heckingbottom. “They have to be willing to put their bodies on the line, head the ball, clear the ball, and like I said we knew we’d get chances on the counter attack and we’re a little bit frustrated that we didn’t take one of those chances.”

The Reds have been on a sensational run and the squad are now real play-off contenders, but Heckingbottom wants to remain focused on getting as far up the table as possible.

“Every win is big.” He explained. “We set the players a challenge to target the teams in front of us, instead of looking behind. If we can keep winning and picking up points we’ll distance the gap between the teams chasing us, but we want to claw back the teams in front of us and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

The Reds' next match will be against Oxford United at Wembley on Sunday 3rd April, and Heckingbottom now feels the attention can turn to the Wembley arch for the JPT Final.

Heckingbottom said, “We will debrief this game now as there were some important points to come out of it, then we can change focus to Sunday.

“It’s just another game we want to win. It might be different when we get down there but we’ll prepare in exactly the same way, why would we do anything different? We know what’s expected and we know what we need to do to win the game.”

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