Port Vale captain Danny Pugh says Valiants must make amends in FA Cup

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Port Vale captain Danny Pugh says the players owe the supporters a performance on Friday as the Valiants attempt to upset League One Oxford United in the FA Cup first round.

Pugh was bitterly disappointed that Vale’s revival under Neil Aspin was halted – at least temporarily – by Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at home to Swindon.

That ended a run of three successive wins under Aspin and left the Valiants clear of the League Two relegation zone only on goal difference.

The Vale take a break from league action when they welcome Oxford in a game which has been moved from Saturday to avoid a clash with Stoke City’s home game with Leicester City.

Pugh says Vale are capable of much better than they showed against Swindon.

“We are disappointed and the fans will be disappointed, but it is up to us to put that right on Friday,” he said.

Saturday’s result cost Aspin the League Two manager of the month award, but more importantly dragged the Vale back into trouble with what the manager described as a ‘relegation performance.’

Port Vale manager Neil Aspin
Port Vale manager Neil Aspin

Pugh said Vale have to get back to the form they showed in successive wins over Cheltenham, Morecambe and Exeter this month.

The 35 year old added: “We have set a standard over the last three or four games of where we should be at and I don’t think we reached that, it has been shown in the result.

“The first half was a very scrappy game, not a lot in it. But in the second half we conceded three poor goals from our point of view. We didn’t create enough, we didn’t do enough to win the game.”

Aspin could consider changes but is again likely to be without attacking midfielder Ben Whitfield. The 21-year-old on-loan Bournemouth player had been an integral part of Vale’s revival under Aspin but was missing on Saturday with an ankle injury which could keep him out for up to a month.

Pugh added: “He has done brilliantly in the past few weeks but I think we have the players to fill in when players are out. It is a squad game, we have a good squad, a big squad, so that’s not an excuse we will be using. I think we have the players to come in when players are injured or not performing.”



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