Port Vale: Micky Adams urges players to stand up to York City test
MICKY Adams is demanding courage and conviction as his team head into the final eight games of the season.
A poor run of form has seen Port Vale's advantage over the play-off pack reduced from 12 points to two in little more than a month.
But the Valiants boss says there's no hiding place for his under-performing players ahead of tomorrow's trip to York City (3pm).
"We have to stand up and be counted," said Adams, who has seen his team win just one of their last eight matches.
"The players are hurting and people sometimes forget that, but there's no easy way to turn it around.
"We can't do this by hiding or taking short-cuts.
"We've got to be brave and stick together, and try to put it right.
"When things are not going well for you individually, you have to get back on the ball.
"If you work hard enough and keep believing in what you're doing, you'll come out the other side.
"You don't give up, you keep your foot on the pedal."
Adams admitted Vale's blip in form had gone on too long, but insisted things could change very quickly.
"We're going through one of those periods of form that hit many teams," he said.
"But we have enough character in the dressing room to get ourselves out of the mess we're in.
"We're taking an enormous amount of criticism, but when we were going well we had all the plaudits as well, so it evens itself out.
"You don't get carried away when you're flying and you certainly don't dig a hole for yourself when you're losing.
"There are eight games to go and we're still fighting.
"But we need a win to make us feel better about ourselves."
Adams confirmed Ryan Burge would be included in the squad.
The young midfielder landed himself in hot water with a Twitter message in midweek and is facing disciplinary action.
He claimed to have been five minutes from Bristol Rovers, the scene of Vale's 2-0 defeat, only to be told he wouldn't be needed.
But that prompted an angry reaction from the Vale boss, who revealed Burge hadn't turned up for the pre-match meal and would have been included in the side.
Adams, however, said he would be in the party at Bootham Crescent.
"Ryan has had a good season and everyone can see that," said Adams.
"But there are ways and means of criticising anybody and we have a policy at this club that they don't criticise the team, individuals or anyone connected with the club on Twitter.
"In the cold light of day, Ryan would understand why we're disappointed.
"I'll speak to him next week, but we've got a big game coming up and I wouldn't want to cut my nose off to spite my face."
Ashley Vincent (ankle) and Darren Purse (calf strain) are ruled out of the York trip, while Dan Jones (knee) is a major doubt.
Winger Vincent was stretchered off only 10 minutes after being thrown on as a substitute at Bristol.
"Ashley is a major concern," said Adams.
"There's no fracture, but we're worried about his ankle tendons.
"He's out for the foreseeable future.
"Dan has had a couple of injections to aid his recovery.
"We've not ruled him out, but he is a doubt."
Adams changed from 4-4-2 to a 3-5-2 set-up on Tuesday.
But he was guarded about how the Valiants will set up at York.
"We'll have a look at it," he said.
"We didn't concede from general play at Bristol Rovers, so maybe we'll do that again, maybe not."