United boss Mark Robins has urged his team to keep working ahead of Tuesday evening’s meeting with Port Vale at Vale Park.Having overseen a 1-1 home draw with Colchester United in his first game in charge on Saturday, the 44-year-old’s relationship with the squad is still very much in its infancy.
Despite that, Robins is already starting to become acclimatised to his new role, and told The Iron Player: “I learned a lot from the game, and it’s going to take a little bit of time to get things how we want.
“As I said on Saturday, we could have won or lost, and we’re looking for a bit more from them in terms of their output. They’re working hard, and giving everything they’ve got, and that’s all I can ask for at this stage.
“If they keep working then the confidence levels will go up automatically because they’ll suddenly find the harder they work then the luckier and better they get. As long as you’ve got a group of players who want to learn and improve then you’ve got a chance.”
The Iron head into the match just one place below their Staffordshire counterparts, with both teams currently occupying unwelcome places in League One’s relegation positions.
That situation makes the game at Vale Park potentially a crucial one in terms of the wider season, and Robins admitted: “They are similar to ourselves, having not picked up the points they would have preferred.
“Anyone who’s seen a Micky Adams team play – I know Micky’s gone now – knows they play with enthusiasm, desire and a certain style. The caretaker manager has taken over and had a couple of decent results to start with before a 2-0 defeat at Preston.
“Obviously they’ll still be trying to pick up points, as we are. They have some decent players in their squad, and have a way of playing which makes them competitive.
“We’re away from home, so the pressure’s on them; I think the pressure is always on the home side, which you can see that in some of our home performances. We’ve got to get hold of that, but first we’ve got to try and inflict a real wound on Port Vale.”
United will be looking for their second away win in succession following an impressive 3-0 dismantling of Gillingham at Priestfield 10 days ago, but Robins stressed the importance of taking things one step at a time, as he added: “Every game is different, whether it’s home or away.
“We’ve just got to go out and perform the way that I know we can. I know the players have got good qualities; it’s just trying to harness those.
“We need time, and the players are going to need a little bit of time to adjust to what I’m asking them to do – although I won’t be asking them to do anything I know they’re not capable of doing. It will be a matter of time, but for me it’s exciting.
“I’m finding out about the new players, what makes them tick, and what they’re capable of doing.”
See much more from Mark Robins and Jennison Myrie-Williams on The Iron Player.