LEE CLARK will challenge his players to prove Tuesday’s Swindon setback was merely a blip when Town head to Port Vale in the FA Cup tomorrow.
The 2-1 League I defeat in Wiltshire followed five successive wins, including the 6-1 first-round cup demolition of Dagenham and Redbridge.
And the trip to the Potteries, where fans can pay on the day, provides a quick chance to atone for a loss which left Clark’s men fifth in the table.
The third-round draw, which includes Premier League and Championship clubs, will be made live on ITV around 3.55pm on Sunday.
But as yesterday’s loan transfer deadline passed without any business being done, the Galpharm boss insisted: “I don’t want to talk or even think about the draw at this stage. We have to get there first.”
Clark has had extensive reports on Vale, who are 14th in League II after drawing 2-2 at home to Torquay on Tuesday, and saw their 1-0 first-round replay win at Stevenage first hand.
The Burslem side, who were 4-3 victors at the Galpharm in last season’s first round, include Huddersfield-born right-back Anthony Griffith and ex-Town centre-back John McCombe.
And Clark pointed out: “They’ve got some good players, a very experienced manager in Micky Adams and home advantage, and they’ll be fancying their chances.
“We have to go down there, impose our style of play on the tie, and make sure we use what is a good surface at Vale Park to our advantage.
“We were obviously disappointed with the defeat at Swindon, but while we let ourselves down defensively, other aspects of the performance were decent.
“We have to build on those aspects, and if we can tighten up at the back, we can certainly get the outcome we want.”
Town have no fresh injury concerns, so Clark could name an unchanged side for the eighth straight game.
Vale skipper Tommy Fraser is suspended, while centre-back Gareth Owen is ruled out by a cheek injury which needs surgery.
And Adams has doubts over midfielder Doug Loft (groin) and Bristol Rovers loan striker Lewis Haldane (knee).