That’s more like it, lads

Date published: 20 August 2014

ALMOST everything was right except the result for Athletic manager Lee Johnson last night, as Port Vale escaped from Park with a point.

Tom Pope's early header was cancelled out by a James Wilson leveller in the second half of a clash in which the home team dominated for large spells.

Johnson admitted he is still looking for more attacking sparkle – hinting that it should come from signings still in the offing.

“We won the game today, in my opinion – but drew on the scoreboard,” said the manager, after taking a second point from three League One matches to put the club in 21st spot ahead of Saturday's game at Preston.

“I was really pleased with the lads; they showed good effort. It wasn't easy, coming up against a team that was flying. Our crowd turned on us for a little spell - they have to realise that at the moment with the way things are, we are an underdog in most games.

“We need that underdog spirit and when the crowd is whipped up here it is a great place to play in.

“But I was pleased with the character. We bossed the game from start to finish. I am disappointed, obviously, not to get the three points, but pleased with the performance. Keep playing like that and we will shoot up the league.

“Our back four looked much more solid, which was good as we had to cram in a lot of work on that,” he added. “They had been coming in for quite a bit of stick from me.”

As well as last season's play-off semi-finalists Preston, who drew 1-1 at Doncaster last night, Athletic are away to Paul Dickov's Rovers before taking on current division leaders Fleetwood at home.

“People will write us off already in the next couple of fixtures but we know that playing like that, we will go and get results,” said Johnson.