'We're at fault': Doug Loft says players must take blame for Port Vale defeats
PORT Vale skipper Doug Loft has delivered a ringing endorsement of under-fire manager Micky Adams.
A dismal spell of four defeats in five games has left the third-laced Valiants' automatic promotion hopes in the balance, with just a two-point gap to the play-off places.
But Loft says it is the players, rather than the manager, who should be the targets of terrace criticism.
"Results have been disappointing, but it's nothing to do with the gaffer," he insisted.
"He's the one who brought nearly everyone in this squad to the club and the one who has got us to where we are.
"It's the players who are not going out and performing and it's up to us to put it right.
"The boys are low on confidence at the moment and you can see that.
"But we've got to turn it around."
Loft, who sits out the final game of a three-match suspension at York tomorrow, says the tight-knit squad remains right behind Adams.
"Everyone believes and trusts in him," said the midfielder.
"Of all the managers I've played for, he's the best at motivating players.
"He gets the lads raring to go, but it's still up to them to go out and do it, and we're just not delivering at the moment.
"All he can do during the game is shout instructions from the sidelines or adjust things at half-time.
"It's all down the players in the end.
"We've not been getting the positive results we need, but we're still in the automatic promotion places.
"We've got eight cup finals ahead of us.
"It's massive for us, the biggest time of the season, but we've plenty of quality in the dressing room and I'm confident we can turn our fortunes around."
Loft, aged 26, appealed to fans to play their part to help Vale over the line in their bid for League One football.
"There's a lot of anxiety around at the moment, but we want supporters to help us," he added.
"Getting behind us is easy when we're top of the table, but it's when we're struggling for form that we need the fans even more.
"We all want promotion and we're all working towards the same goal, so I'd ask them to do all they can to help."
The Valiants have won just once in eight games, but Loft believes one scrappy victory could spark a revival for the run-in.
"If we could get three points at York, we'd be back on track," he said.
"Maybe we just need a bit of luck, but however it comes, a win is crucial."