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TEAM TALK v PORT VALE, 30/11/13

29 November 2013

Boss previews local derby...

WE'VE GOT a fully fit squad to choose from again as the healing hands of Jon Whitney continue to work their magic!

We go into the game on the back of consecutive away draws at Crawley and Sheffield United. In this League to go away from home and not get beat is always a good point.

It's been a tough week with the matches and the pitches that we have played on. Both games were real battles, so to emerge from them unbeaten is pleasing.

I'm not surprised to see that Port Vale have started life in League One in solid fashion. They are a hard-working team who have secured some good results.

Add to this the fact that it's a local derby with a large and vocal crowd sure to be in attendance, and it has all the ingredients to be an entertaining game, one that we are really looking forward to.

Vale have come up with momentum; we've already beaten them this season in the Capital One Cup and I feel that we have progressed since that game in terms of our understanding, so hopefully we can emerge from the game with the result that we desire.

It's a case of us going into the game full of confidence but at the same time being wary of the threats that our opponents possess.

We know that we will have to deal with the physical aspect of the game, but I have the players here who can handle that, whilst also being comfortable on the ball.

Apart from Preston North End, I have been pleased with our home performances. Defensively we've been very good and have only conceded two goals this month with one of them being a disputed free-kick and the other a penalty.

It's important to be organised and defend from the front, with everyone knowing their roles and carrying them out. The players are comfortable in what we want to do and how we're doing it. I'm so fortunate in that the players we have here want to keep learning and getting better.

It is an attitude that is serving us extremely well.

DEAN SMITH

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