The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Char­lie Ben­nett

MICHAEL Brown be­lieves there is a sim­ple ex­pla­na­tion for the in­jury cri­sis cur­rently en­gulf­ing Port Vale – the play­ers were not fit enough un­der former man­ager Bruno Ribeiro.

Brown re­placed Ribeiro in De­cem­ber when the Por­tuguese coach re­signed af­ter a woe­ful run, and he has strug­gled to stop their dra­matic slide, which has left the club fight­ing for sur­vival.

In Tues­day’s 2-1 loss at Northamp­ton Town, de­fender Kjell Knops, 29, went down with a groin strain and de­fender Scott Tanser, 22, a ham­string in­jury, length­en­ing their already hefty in­jury list.

Tanser ar­rived af­ter Ribeiro’s de­par­ture, but Knops signed last sum­mer and care­taker-boss Brown is adamant his pre­de­ces­sor left him a group of un­fit play­ers.

“It is very frus­trat­ing but we knew the play­ers maybe weren’t in the great­est con­di­tion, or as fit as they should be,” he said.

“We have been work­ing on that. We now know we have lots of games thick and fast and we have paid a price.

“We have tried to in­crease the tempo and the phys­i­cal­ity that we play at and be more dy­namic, a lit­tle bit quicker in our play, but it has cost us.”

WORK: Michael Brown

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