Port Vale: John McCombe determined to help plug Valiants' defensive leaks
JOHN McCombe is bracing himself for a tough couple of days "at the office" as Vale bid to tighten up their leaky defence.
Their 2-0 weekend defeat to League Two leaders Gillingham meant Vale have now gone eight games since they last kept a clean sheet.
And defender McCombe knows that statistic must improve if they are to build on their encouraging start to the new season.
The 27-year-old said: "We didn't perform like we have in recent weeks against Gillingham and obviously weren't happy to concede two goals.
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"But we've got another big game at Bradford City on Saturday, and we'll no doubt be working hard on a few things in training in the build-up to the game.
"You don't really want a week without a midweek fixture when you've just lost because you'd rather get back into it, but it does give you time to get things right on the training ground."
And McCombe is expecting the Vale back four, who have shipped 11 goals in eight league games, to come under most scrutiny as boss Micky Adams prepares his team to take on the fourth-placed Bantams.
McCombe added: "We've conceded a lot of goals and we need to do a lot better.
"It's something we'll work hard on, but it's not just the back four.
"You defend as a team and so we'll be working on our team shape too."
However, McCombe insists defeat to Gillingham, which ended a run of four league wins, is far from a disaster.
"If someone had offered us a points tally of 16 at this stage, we would have taken it without a doubt," he said.
"We missed a chance to go top of the table, but it's better to be there at the end, rather than now.
"It's been a good start overall, but there are obviously aspects of the game we need to improve and we now need to kick on."