Port Vale: Unity the key to resurrection, says Adam Yates
ADAM Yates says Port Vale must recapture their Blitz spirit to haul themselves back into promotion form.
The 29-year-old full-back notes the irony of Vale's woes on the pitch when compared to their healthy situation behind the scenes.
All guns were blazing in League Two when the Valiants' existence was in the balance at the start of the campaign, yet the players had still pledged their futures to the club.
The emergence of new owners and financial stability allowed supporters, players and management to breathe more easily.
Yet Vale, who had lost only five of their first 31 league games up to a month ago, have now suffered five defeats in just seven matches.
From being top and 10 points clear of fourth place on February 14, the Valiants have slipped to third and their buffer on the play-off places is now just two points.
Yates knows it will require the first team to roll up their sleeves again to ensure they seal a place in the top three.
He said: "We had a siege mentality at the start of the season and we've got to stick together now to come through this bad patch.
"It's going to come to an end at some point, and the sooner the better because we are still there to get promoted. But we need a win – and then to string a few wins together.
"Players go through bad spells and their confidence takes knocks and it just seems at the minute too many are having a bit of a crisis of confidence. It's got to change."
Vale have history on their side when it comes to teams who have racked up as many points as they have by this stage of the season going on to clinch automatic promotion.
Only three teams in the past five years have been on 64 points or more by mid-March and not been in the automatic spots at the end of the campaign.
Torquay were second this time last term – on 66 points, two more than Vale's current tally – but ended up fifth and lost in the play-offs.
The side in third has clocked up 81 points on average since the basement tier became a 24-team division in 1995, meaning Vale should need about 17 points from their eight remaining games.
Yates says everyone at the club can play their part in ensuring Vale don't emulate the Gulls' fall from grace.
Manager Micky Adams criticised an "idiotic" section of the support who had become personal in their criticism in the aftermath of Tuesday's 2-0 defeat at Bristol Rovers.
And Yates, who has made 158 appearances for Vale since joining the club in 2009, says he has seen what a difference positive support can make when things are not so rosy.
"I didn't hear any fans shouting anything negative at Bristol, but we all have to stick together," said the defender, arguably Vale's star man at the Memorial Stadium.
"We weren't getting any abuse at the start of the season when things were going well and we were in administration.
"The fans have carried us through some games, and we need them now more than ever.
"When the going is good sometimes you can play without the fans' backing, but when it's tough you need them.
"We don't need our confidence being bashed any more than it is at the moment."