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Cox provides team news and updates ahead of Port Vale cup encounter

3 September 2020

First team manager Neil Cox has revealed to iFollow Iron that Alex Gilliead will captain the side in the Carabao Cup first round against Port Vale on Saturday.

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The gaffer previewed the clash against the Valiants while also providing an update on club captain Jordan Clarke and fellow defender Harrison McGahey, who didn't play in any of the pre-season matches due to calf knocks.

Cox said: "Gilly will be captain on Saturday. It was a proud moment for him to be told. He's played a lot of games, is a good character, a leader, and he wants to win. He will dig other people out when he needs to - which is what we need - but he'll also take responsibility.

"Jordan has been excellent and we need a little bit more time before we play him in a game but he's been a captain and a leader, talking to people off the pitch and demanding from them.

"Harrison is coming back into the fold. He may be involved on Tuesday night (at Lincoln City in the EFL Trophy), but we'll see how he gets through the next few days of training."

Talking about the week of training in general, Cox continued: "They worked hard at Watford and we've worked them hard this week too. They'll have a steady day on Friday as we get organised for Port Vale on Saturday.

"There are tough decisions to make (with the size of squad), but I've told the boys I need everybody at the moment. It's a big squad and a few might go out at a later date but at the minute's everyone's playing for their shirt.

"We won't win games as individuals, it's all about the team. They're buying into it and have been excellent. I told the players who'd be playing on Saturday today, and there was no sulking - everybody got on with training with a smile on their face.

"There's a game on Tuesday (at Lincoln) and some of the boys may get a chance there. If they don't train properly and are sulking, they won't get in the side."

Speaking about the opposition, who just missed out on the League Two play-offs last season, Cox said: "Port Vale are a good side who will be up near the top this year. They've been together a few years now and play 4-3-3, and open, attacking football. They have a lot of pace up front and are good at set-plays.

"I watched them a few times last year, and they have a good squad and good players so it'll be hard for us but we have to perform on the day, bring things out that we've done on the training ground and then I'm sure we'll be fine.

"Who settles most with no crowd here will probably be the team that wins the game."

Cox became first team manager four weeks ago and he's proud to take charge of his hometown team for the first time in a competitive game this weekend.

He said: "It will be a special moment. It's a shame the fans aren't here but I know they'll be supporting us.

"Everyone's been great, wishing me luck. The support is there, we have to make sure the players perform really well, show the fans they're working hard and proud to be at the football club.

"We just want to get to 3pm on Saturday really and see whether the lads have learned what we've been trying to get over to them over the last few weeks.

"We're here to win as many games as possible, and when we do it breeds confidence, so that's the aim - win the game.

"We have to get on with it, start well, and make sure all the fans who are supporting from afar enjoy it."

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