Port Vale v AFC Wimbledon: We must pile the pressure on promotion rivals, says Mark Grew
MARK Grew says Port Vale must grasp the chance to pile pressure on their League Two promotion rivals.
Victory against AFC Wimbledon tonight would lift the Valiants 12 points clear of the play-off places.
And assistant boss Grew believes such a huge gap would leave the chasing pack with plenty to do.
"If we can win, it not only boosts our own confidence, but it also turns the screw on our rivals," he said.
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"They have to keep winning or the gap will get bigger.
"The onus is already on them to catch us, but another three points would put more pressure on them.
"A lot of them have to play each other as well, so I'd rather be in our position."
Grew stopped short of admitting the club were now favourites for promotion, but he says Vale's destiny is in their own hands.
"The only thing that can stop us now is ourselves," he added.
"That's not complacency setting in because you can have a couple of bad results and then you might lose confidence.
"I'm not saying we're going to do that, but that's what could happen.
"There's no chance the players will become complacent.
"They know how the gaffer works, and if they ease off they won't be in the team."
Grew says Vale are already in a position where they don't have to worry about other results.
"If we keep picking up three points, then no-one will catch us," he said.
"It's down to us in the end. We don't have to look over our shoulder.
"We know if we win our games, it won't make a difference what anyone else does.
"Our rivals have been dropping points in recent weeks, so we have to capitalise on that."
Vale are searching for their second home win in four days against an AFC Wimbledon side who are bottom.
The Valiants had to settle for a 2-2 draw in the reverse fixture 12 days ago and are expecting another tough test.
"They'll be looking to make it difficult for us and I'm sure they would be satisfied with a point," said Grew.
"They're battling for their lives and they caused us problems down there, so this won't be an easy game.
"We haven't started quickly enough in the last couple of home games.
"If we can get early goal, that puts pressure on the opposing team to have a go at us."
Grew is hoping the offer of cut-price admission for tonight's game will help swell the gate.
It is £10 for adults in all areas of the ground other than Lorne Street, which is £11, while under-18s pay just £1 and under-nines go free.
"It's the second home game in a matter of days and it's sometimes difficult for fans," said Grew.
"But it would be nice to see a bigger crowd tonight for sure.
"It makes a difference to the players because a good atmosphere always inspires you."
Forward Louis Dodds and defender Rob Taylor are back in training after injury, but the game might have come just too soon for either to return to the substitutes' bench.
Match preview: page 46