Port Vale: We will be the ones who decide our fate, says Micky Adams
MICKY Adams is calling on his Port Vale players to keep calm and carry on as the promotion race enters its final stages.
A run of one win in six games has disrupted momentum and seen Vale's lead on the play-off places reduced to four points.
But the Vale boss is approaching the business end of the season in a positive frame of mind, saying his team must simply take things in their stride.
"We're a decent side and we'll keep doing the things we believe in because that's what's got us to where we are," he said.
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"I've always said there would be twists and turns, but we've got to hold our nerve. There are 10 games to go and 30 points to play for.
"We need to keep our tally ticking over, whether it's a point or three, and the great thing is that we can concentrate on ourselves.
"A lot of our rivals will be playing each other, so they can't all get three points.
"And we've got some big games coming up against teams who are in or around the promotion picture.
"We're in a good position in that it's all down to us and what we do. I'm feeling positive."
Adams says anyone beginning to worry about his team's promotion chances need only look at the league table.
"We're in second place and we've been there an awful long time," he added.
"All I'm concentrating on is trying to overtake Gillingham. I'm not worried about what's happening below us."
Southend are the visitors to Vale Park tomorrow (3pm) as the Valiants bid to halt a run of three home games without a win.
And Adams, who made four changes to his team for their goalless draw against Bradford in midweek, might have to shuffle his pack once more.
Full-backs Richard Duffy and Dan Jones both missed training yesterday and are rated as doubts, while skipper Doug Loft serves the first game of a three-match ban for the red card he received against the Bantams.
"Dan looks as though he's tweaked a knee ligament and Richard has an ankle problem," added Adams.
"We'll give them as long as we can, but they must be doubtful.
"We'll miss Lofty, but we've got other players who can come in and stake a claim now."
"It's a big opportunity for someone to grab a shirt."
Southend have a trip to Wembley on the horizon – they play Crewe in the final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy on April 7 – and Adams is hoping it might be a distraction.
"Whether (boss) Paul Sturrock likes it or not, some of his players will be looking towards the cup final," he added.
"It's a massive occasion for them, but I'm sure Paul will be driving them on.
"They've just dropped out of the play-off places and I'm not sure a point here would be any good to them, so I can't see them shutting up shop."
The Shrimpers are without four key players. Centre-half Mark Phillips (broken toe), left-back Chris Barker (Achilles), midfielder Marc Laird (hamstring) and striker Gavin Tomlin (thigh) are all ruled out.