Micky Adams: Port Vale must handle promotion pressure after retaking top spot
MICKY Adams says Port Vale must handle the promotion pressure after climbing to the top of League Two.
The Valiants rose to the summit after an impressive 2-1 victory at previous leaders Gillingham on Saturday.
Adams' side enjoyed a previous stint at the top earlier in the season, but the manager, pictured, is keen for his players to stay in front for the long haul.
"It will be doubly hard for us now because we're there to be shot at," he said.
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"We've experienced being top before and, certainly in my first spell at the club, we didn't handle it too well.
"I've told the boys not to get carried away, but we've shown we can compete with the best and we've got to increase our efforts because people will want to knock us off our perch.
"We won't relax until we're over the line and we're a million miles away from that yet.
"We've given ourselves a great opportunity to be successful this season.
"The platform is there for us to build on. We've got 19 games to go and we'll just try to get as many points as we can."
Tom Pope fired Vale ahead at the Priestfield when he headed home his 26th goal of the season in the fourth minute.
And debutant Lee Hughes added a second, claiming the final touch after a goalmouth scramble.
Gillingham hit back through Danny Kedwell, then spent the rest of the game in desperate search of a way back.
But the visitors mounted a sterling rearguard effort, led by Darren Purse, who was also making his debut.
The Valiants' ninth away win of the season left Adams delighted to have reached a significant milestone.
"We're over the 50-point mark in January and that's pleasing," he said. "If you're going to be successful, how quickly you get to 50 points is a real marker.
"We've shown once again that away from home we're more than capable of getting results.
"But we have to keep reminding ourselves of how we've got them. All the principles and disciplines that you need to get results on the road, we've applied them, but it's just three points."
Adams was impressed by his team's battling qualities and said luck had been on their side as the Gills pressed for an equaliser.
"My players put their bodies on the line and that was great," he added.
"Gillingham get the ball forward early and put your back four under pressure, but we stood up to the test.
"But when you go to play against the top teams, you need a bit of luck and we certainly had that in the second half."
Adams was also delighted by Vale's new front pairing as veteran striker Hughes, who only joined the club on Tuesday, started alongside Pope.
"Lee's link-up play with Tom was excellent and I saw a useful combination out there. The fact both of them scored will help."