Chris Neal: Next seven matches are crucial to Port Vale promotion bid
CHRIS Neal is looking for a magnificent seven to shoot Port Vale to promotion.
The Valiants are facing a congested fixture list with seven games in just three weeks.
But the goalkeeper says his team can use the pivotal period to steal a march on their rivals.
Vale follow tomorrow's game at Torquay (3pm) with a home clash against Exeter City four days later.
And they face other Tuesday night fixtures, against Bradford City (home) and Bristol Rovers (away), in the following fortnight.
Neal was in the Shrewsbury side which won four and drew three of eight games last March.
And the fact the Shrews won promotion in the end shows the value of a good run at the right time.
"We've got a busy period ahead of us and it will be a massively important seven games," he said.
"There are a lot of points to play for in a short period of time.
"If we can get on another good run, I don't see any reason why we can't go on and get promotion."
Neal, aged 27, believes the seven-game spell gives the Valiants a chance to move clear in the promotion race.
"All of our rivals will have to play each other, so none of them can pick up maximum points," he said.
"If we can pick up a few wins and keep getting away from them, it's going to look good for us.
"I'd rather take our position than theirs. But we don't need to look behind us, we'd rather try to catch Gillingham and win the league."
Neal, a virtual ever-present after joining Vale in the summer, insists the club are still on track, despite failing to win their last two games.
"We're seven points clear of fourth place and we're at the top end of the table on merit," he said.
"Our form before the last two was really good, so we'll put last week behind us and move on.
"We'll try to get another run going and there's no reason why we can't achieve what we want."