Port Vale: Taylor wants Vale firing on all cylinders as they bid to reach summit
ROB Taylor reckons it's time Port Vale combined both elements of their game to produce a complete performance.
While the team's first five victories so far this season were built on irresistible attacking play, the lack of clean sheets was a concern.
Things changed dramatically at Bradford City on Saturday where, with their free-scoring fluency stifled, the Valiants ground out a sterling 1-0 win with a magnificent rearguard action.
And Taylor believes tonight's home match against Dagenham and Redbridge (7.45pm) is the chance for Micky Adams's men to put everything together.
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"We've started the season attacking teams really well, but we were leaving the door open at the back," said the defender.
"It's all right going forward so much, but the gaffer wasn't happy with the defence and we did plenty of work last week to try to improve it.
"We showed a big improvement in that area at Bradford, but didn't show our fluency going forward.
"Hopefully, we can now incorporate our defensive side of the game with the fluid attacking style we'd been playing previously.
"Hopefully it's not a case of one or the other, let's have both."
An added incentive tonight is that victory could take Vale to the top of League Two for the first time this season.
Taylor, aged 27, made his first start of the season on Saturday and enjoyed the experience.
"We had to defend pretty much for our lives," he said.
"We weren't at our best going forward, but we showed we can be gritty and tough to beat.
"If you play poorly and still get a result, it can show how far the team has come.
"It was probably a horrible game to watch, but sometimes you have to win ugly."
Fit again after injury problems, including a torn calf, delayed his start to the season, Taylor is hoping second-placed Vale can produce a more eye-catching display tonight.
But he insists struggling Dagenham will be no pushovers.
"They had their first win on Saturday and it was a good result," he said.
"Sometimes if a team has failed to win, you're thinking you could be the first they beat, so it's probably good they got a result in that respect.
"The gaffer has warned us about them and we're expecting a tough game.
"I've been in this league for four seasons now and you soon learn that things can quickly go against you, no matter who you are playing against.
"But our home form has been good and we're feeling confident.
"If we battle hard and play well, then we can get a result and if we do that, it would set us up nicely for another top-of-the-table clash at Exeter on Saturday."
Taylor, who arrived at Vale Park in July 2008 after a spell at non-league Nuneaton Borough, has had to wait patiently for his chance in the team.
And having finally been given the nod at Valley Parade, he's in no mood to give up his first-team place.
"I would have liked to have got on the ball more, but I thought I did all right," he said. "But we all know there could be more changes tonight – you've got to keep playing well to keep the shirt.
"Even if the team is winning, there's no guarantee the gaffer will keep the same side, so everyone is on their toes."