LET’S MAKE SOME FRESH MEMORIES
Aspin wants class of 2018 to join club’s band of FA Cup heroes
PORT Vale boss Neil Aspin will urge his players to ‘create their own history’ by pulling off an FA Cup shock at home to Sunderland in tomorrow’s first-round tie (2.30pm).
The Valiants start as underdogs for the game which is being televised live by BT Sport, but the manager says they should relish the opportunity to take on a Black Cats side who are second in League One and the biggest club in the firstround draw.
Aspin knows all about memorable FA Cup games for Vale having been in the side that beat Everton and took Arsenal to a replay in the 1990s, but he wants the new generation of fans and players to have something to remember.
He said: “There will be a lot of people turning up for this game who have never seen me play or the team playing back then. Time moves on.
“They are good memories to have and good days when they occurred, but we have to try to create our own history and the only way is by getting your own results and trying to do something on the pitch now.”
Win or lose tomorrow, Aspin says the players must come off at full time knowing they have given their all.
He said: “We know we are going to be in for a test and we are looking forward to it. I want our players to give a good account of themselves.
“They have to make sure that they give everything out on that pitch so they they have no regrets.”
In fact, the manager says the game is a chance for players to show they could play at a higher level.
He explained: “There will be players who play on Sunday and it will be a new experience for them. They have to handle the occasion but they have to realise that, if you want to play higher, this is what football is about.
“It is about playing against better opposition, playing on a bigger stage, with TV cameras there, it is all about how you handle these occasions.
“We all look at players at the top level and the reason they get there is they can lift their game and adapt to pressure and playing against good opposition. We have a few players who no doubt want to play higher. Now they have an opportunity to show what they can do.”
Aspin doesn’t expect Sunderland boss Jack Ross to play a ‘weakened’ team for the game, even though the Black Cats are pushing for promotion back to the Championship at the first attempt.
He added: “When you have the support that Sunderland have, I don’t think their supporters will accept them not doing everything they can to win games in the FA Cup. I feel that they will have a duty to do that and will be treating this game every bit as importantly as a league game. So, I am fully prepared that they will have a very strong team and they will be expecting to beat us.”
Aspin has the option of naming an unchanged side after reporting no injuries to the team that drew 2-2 at home to Notts County last Saturday.
However, right-back James Gibbons is unlikely to be in the squad after missing training because of illness.
Manny Oyeleke and Cristian Montano could return to the matchday squad after they played their first game back from injury in Tuesday’s 4-1 reserves win at home to Wigan.
TV DATE: Neil Aspin wants his Port Vale players to shine in front of the television cameras.