Port Vale: Valiants earn themselves TV date in bid to improve defending
PORT Vale's defenders have been subjected to a video nasty in a bid to help them shut up shop.
Assistant manager Mark Grew hopes making the players sit through the DVD of Saturday's 2-0 home defeat by leaders Gillingham will help eradicate some X-rated defending.
Vale have failed to keep a clean sheet since the opening day of the season – when they beat Barnet 3-0 – and Grew is demanding the players learn important lessons in time for another tough assignment at Bradford City on Saturday.
"We were disappointed about the weekend and we've got to work on things," said Grew, main picture.
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"We went through the DVD of the Gillingham game and there were quite a few things to put right.
"It's important to start getting clean sheets on the board because that's one thing which is troubling us at the moment.
"We've been scoring plenty of goals, but we've not been shutting the door behind us, and some of the goals we've conceded have been sloppy.
"We can't keep throwing it on to the front lads to score three, four or five goals.
"But we've got a clear week now and our main priority is defensive work to try to improve."
Grew was particularly frustrated by the two goals conceded against the high-flying Gills.
"They were everything we told the lads would happen," he added.
"We warned them of the dangers and then we go and concede two goals like that.
"We knew Gillingham hit diagonal balls and look to pick up the pieces, but the first goal stemmed from a long kick from their keeper.
"The second came from our free-kick. We gave it away and never recovered.
"We had chances to get back into it, but luck didn't go with us. Overall they deserved to win."
But Grew insists the end of Vale's run of four league wins didn't warrant any panic among the ranks.
"We knew we'd lose a game sooner or later and we knew we couldn't keep scoring five or six every week," he said.
"But we're still second in the table and it's certainly not a disaster.
"If someone had told us before the season we'd be up there with 16 points at this stage, we'd have taken it. But we're trying to put right what went wrong for Saturday."
Grew said places in the team for Bradford were now very much up for grabs and said tomorrow's reserve-team clash at Morecambe had now taken on extra significance.
"The gaffer said the door is now wide open," said Grew. "The players who haven't been in team so far are champing at the bit and the defeat might give them an opportunity.
"Those who play at Morecambe have to show they're right and ready and worth a place in the team.
"The ones who played on Saturday have to put in an extra shift in training this week to say 'hold on I'm still worthy of my spot'.
"All of the players are looking over their shoulders – no-one is guaranteed a place."