Tom Conlon says he was honoured to be named Port Vale captain as he helped Danny Pugh get off to a perfect start as interim manager.
The Vale return to action on Tuesday away to Sunderland in the Papa John’s Trophy (6pm) when Pugh is likely to make changes to the side that saw off Grimsby 3-0 at Vale Park on Saturday.
Pugh’s decisions in charge of first-team affairs including calling in Conlon on Saturday morning to tell him he was captaining the side.
Conlon said: “He said he thinks I go about my work the right way and he paid me a few compliments. So, it was really nice to hear and it is an absolute honour.
“I dedicate my life really to football and when you get comments like that from Pughy who has played right at the top, it gives you a really good boost of confidence, I felt really good going out on that pitch.”
The midfielder, from Porthill, is the third player in his family to have represented the Vale. His great-grandfather was goalkeeper George Heppell who played 213 games for the club between 1937-52. What’s more, his father-in-law, so Tom’s great-great grandfather, was Albert Pearson, the midfielder and forward who played 114 games for Vale either side of the First World War and also played for Liverpool.
Conlon says the team still have a long way to go but Saturday’s result was an encouraging first step. The result lifted Vale to 13 th , eight points clear of the relegation zone, ahead of a busy week which also includes a league game at fourth placed Forest Green Rovers on Saturday.
The Vale had been on a run of six points from 12 games, results that had cost manager John Askey his job.
Conlon said: “We have a lot to make up for. I know we have won but we still have a lot to do.
“As well as we have done, it means nothing really in the long run. We have to build on that now and I am sure we will.”
He added: “When John left us, Pughy came in fairly sharpish and said what he wants from us is 110 per cent in everything we do.
“That is the basics of football and I think it showed. We didn’t play some fantastic stuff but we absolutely grafted and won 3-0 and that hasn’t happened for a long time.”
Conlon says the clean sheet shouldn’t be overlooked. Vale had looked vulnerable at the back during their poor run – leading 2-0 and 3-2 against both Tranmere and Walsall before losing both games 4-3.
He said: “We had gone 2-0 up and made a meal of it so it was nice to keep a clean sheet. I felt there was a bit of something different when we were 2-0 up. I felt we were more solid and were getting on second balls more. We didn’t stop running and right to the final whistle we were grafting. I think we definitely deserved the three points.”