Iron manager Mark Robins was determined to focus on the positives after continuing his unbeaten start in the Glanford Park hot-seat with a 2-2 draw away to Port Vale on Tuesday night.The away side went in front inside the opening five minutes when Neal Bishop broke the deadlock, but were quickly pegged courtesy of a header from Vale’s Ben Williamson.
The Valiants took the lead themselves for the first time with 20 minutes remaining when substitute Chris Birchall struck, ahead of former Vale winger Jennison Myrie-Williams being dismissed for a second bookable offence.
That left United with plenty to do but they rescued a point 11 minutes from time when Lyle Taylor headed home, and Robins told The Iron Player: “We can always look at the negatives, and build on them, but it doesn’t help anyone.
“We’ll sort that out behind the scenes; if the players can’t respond to it and can’t improve their defending they will be replaced – it’s as simple as that.
“Either the players in the team address it, or we get players back from injury – because there’s a hell of a lot of injured players – and they solve the problem, or we’ll get people who can.
“We’ve created opportunities, and some of those chances we created with 10 men. For the neutral there were quite a few chances in the game, and one or two decent passing moves – certainly from ourselves.
“I thought we were decent value for the draw, and really could have won if we’d kept 11 men on the field. There are positives, but there’s the obvious frailties too.”
One of the biggest plus points of the evening was the impressive performance of full debutant Isaiah Osbourne in central midfield, and Robins added: “Again, he’s not played much, but I thought he and [Neal] Bishop in the middle of the park were outstanding.
“They were excellent, and broke things up when they needed to. If I had a criticism I’d just like to move the ball a little bit quicker to get it into Terry [Hawkridge] as he did quite well and got the ball into good areas.
“If he can be a little bit quicker, and a little bit more intensity in his play by harnessing his ability, then we’ve got a decent player on our hands.”
The burgeoning partnership of Bishop and Osbourne will now be disrupted by the former being forced to serve a suspension after collecting his fifth booking of the season in Staffordshire, but Robins said: “We’ve got Matt Sparrow in the squad, and I’ve not seen anything of him yet so it may be an opportunity for him.
“I’ll have a good look at it over the next day or two and come up with something I’m sure. I’ve been here just over a week, which isn’t long at all.
“We’ve had three or four training sessions, and people will get opportunities if they deserve opportunities. I’m looking for work-rate, but a bit more quality as well.”
See much more from Mark Robins, Lyle Taylor and Neal Bishop on The Iron Player.