Port Vale head into this weekend’s Sky Bet League Two fixture with play-off chasing Forest Green Rovers on the back of a four-game unbeaten run, and Manny Oyeleke insists the manager deserves credit for the upturn in form.
Despite losing his first four games as Vale boss, John Askey has guided his side to two wins and two draws since, with clean sheets being recorded in three of those fixtures.
Back-to-back home triumphs against Mansfield Town and Yeovil Town mean the Valiants will be chasing a third successive victory at Vale Park on Saturday, and Oyeleke insists he is reaping the rewards of a switch in formation.
He said: “I like playing in a midfield three because it gives you a lot more control on the game generally, so that means teams can’t outnumber us in those areas as they might do if we were in a two.
“There are positives and negatives to every formation, but I think the major thing is that we know what is expected from us and we are putting that into practice.
“The level of hard work that we have put in to press the teams is paying off, and now that we know the manager’s philosophy a bit better now, things are looking good.
“It took us a few weeks in training and not necessarily getting the results to implement what the gaffer wanted from us. We look a lot more organised now and everybody knows their jobs – that’s what has helped us pick up some results.”
With the manager’s contract set to expire at the end of the current season, Oyeleke has revealed that he would be delighted if Askey’s stay was extended, but he knows that the main priority is to focus on ensuring survival.
Despite taking things one step at a time, the 26-year-old is confident that Vale can harness the positive atmosphere around the group to continue their run, and he believes the increased workload in training has been very influential.
He said: “There are fine margins between teams in this league and anyone can beat anyone, so there aren’t many teams who can say they are head and shoulders above the rest.
“If we apply ourselves against Forest Green in the same manner we did against Mansfield, I think we are capable of causing an upset on Saturday.
“We are a lot fitter now and the training regime has become a lot tougher because when the gaffer first came in, we weren’t up to the standard of fitness that he needed us to be in order for his tactics to work.
“It took us maybe a month to get used to it, and as we are fitter now it may seem as if we are more eager to get the ball, but I think that is a big factor in the way he wants us to play and press high up the pitch.
“That has had an impact on the exciting type of football that we have been playing. John Askey has been really good, and he has enforced harder training sessions, so that is good for everybody as it keeps them on their toes and it ensures we continue to improve – that’s all you can ask for.”