Port Vale’s Connell Rawlinson: ‘Crewe derby win was better than Champions League nights’

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Port Vale right-back Connell Rawlinson may have played European football, but it is the derby win over Crewe which he insists is his “best moment in football”.

Rawlinson previously turned out for Welsh Premier League side The New Saints in the Champions League before making the switch to Vale Park over the summer.

And the 27-year-old, who won seven league titles in Wales, is adamant the Valiants’ first away win since December ranks highest in his memory.

“I put a post on Twitter saying it’s the best game I’ve been involved in in football,” he said.

“I’ve had great nights, playing with The New Saints in European football.

“But, for sheer demand of fans pressure, the magnitude of the game, we haven’t won for how many months since December, it was overall the best game I’ve played in 100 per cent.

“I understand that we haven’t won away since last December. So, it’s nice to get the monkey off our back for the fans.

“Three points is three points, no matter who you play that’s what you get. But I think for the group and for the fans that win was more important than just picking up the points.

“Hopefully now we can push on and get a lot more away wins this season, climb up the table and get as high as we can.”

As well as adjusting to a new club, Rawlinson is also having to adapt to a new position, with Port Vale boss Neil Aspin moving the defender from centre-half to right-back.

But the former Wales C captain asserted that he is enjoying life out wide.

“It’s totally new to me,” Rawlinson added.

“I’ve only played three times there in my entire career, all of which have been at Port Vale.

“I’m happy to do what the gaffer asks me to do, if he wants me to go there and do a job, I’ll go there and do a job.

“The more I play there, the more I learn the role. Because even though it is only ten yards further right, it is a completely different thing.

“I’m enjoying it. I like to play football and get forward and I can do that a lot more at right-back than centre-half. I’m doing well, hopefully impressing the fans and the gaffer.

“There is a lot more pressure here than at my previous club which I like because it manifests itself inside you to put in good performances.”

Rawlinson has been part of a back four which has kept back-to-back clean sheets, and he believes this will be key when Port Vale host title-chasing Exeter City tomorrow (September 29).

“As long as the strikers up front are doing their job, the midfield are controlling and dominating and we’re solid at the back then we don’t fear anyone at the minute,” he said.

“In this division, as long as you perform at 100 per cent, then you can win the game.

“The lads are doing well and I’m enjoying where I’m playing at the minute.

“They’ve started very well and to be fair they are good starters, but any team that comes to your home ground, you have to look to win the game.

“You can’t be looking and saying they’re second and we’re 13th, it will be good to get a point out of this.

“Any home game you look at winning the three points, dominating possession, and putting yourselves on the front foot from the first whistle.”

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