Neil Aspin reflects on first year as Port Vale boss

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Thursday marked a year of Neil Aspin being at the helm as Port Vale manager, but it has not been plain sailing for the 53-year-old.

Having joined the club on October 4 last year with Vale planted in the relegation places, he steered them to safety in Sky Bet League Two last season.

He then overhauled his squad during the summer, letting several players leave whilst drafting in 15 new faces.

Vale have endured a mixed start to the 2018/19 campaign and they currently lie in 16th position, but Aspin is eager for his side to start climbing the table.

He said: “It has been a difficult year. There were loads of reasons why I didn’t want to take the job and I had people telling me not to take it, but I always think that if you get an opportunity you have to take it.

“Things have been tough and I wouldn’t say it has been enjoyable, but you have to take on the challenge. The only way you enjoy being a football manager is if you are winning games and it can be difficult to do that.

“If you win games you get the satisfaction, but if you are not doing that it becomes a tough job. That will never change, so the key is winning most weeks and then everyone is happy.

“It’s a role I was pleased to take and the main point of me getting the job as to make sure we stayed up. We did that and now everyone wants us to kick on, myself included, but it will take time.”

Following the recent midweek home defeat to MK Dons, the Valiants travel to Grimsby Town this weekend, the team Aspin faced in his first game in the hot seat.

The Mariners sit six places and three points below Vale in League Two, but Aspin is expecting another tough test.

“Grimsby have a different style and I don’t expect them to be playing out from the back like MK Dons, but they have a goal scorer (Wes Thomas) up front who has scored plenty at a higher level,” he said.

“They have also got younger legs that can give them a bit of energy, but like all teams, they have their strengths and weaknesses. It’s up to us to make sure that we play to our strengths.

“It was good to win the game at Crewe a couple of weeks ago, but there hasn’t been enough of those days where you could go home and feel satisfied.”

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