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Gaz: Vale will be no harder than Dagenham
GARETH Ainsworth doesn't view tomorrow's testing tie at his former club Port Vale as a marker of how far Wanderers have come since he's been in charge.
The Valiants are flying high in the table and boast the most prolific attack in League Two.
But the Blues caretaker boss won't be taking the league table into account as he prepares for his sixth match in temporary charge - saying his first game was the hardest.
He said: "Probably the toughest one was Dagenham in the first game with only a couple of days in charge to sort things out. That was a really tough thing to do.
"They've all been tough - Portsmouth away, a league above, Fleetwood were third when we played them. It's not tougher than any other but it's certainly going to be up there."
And Ainsworth said he'll be focusing on the good things his side can do rather than worrying about the opposition.
In 13-goal forward Tom Pope, Vale have the division's leading scorer but Ainsworth will be treating him like any other number nine despite scoring four goals in his last three games.
Ainsworth said: "I don't really want to concentrate too much on the opposition when I'm in charge. I've said I always want to concentrate on things I can affect, and what I can affect is my lads and my training and the way I prepare them.
"We're not focusing on them, we are focusing on what we can do on Saturday and how we go about things.
"It's going to be a tough game. The lads have got to be up for this one.
"It's a big pitch, they are the top scorers so they have started really well."
Despite that Ainsworth is looking forward to returning to his old stomping ground.
The £500,000 Vale stumped up for Ainsworth back in 1997 means he is still their record signing, although financial strife that has engulfed the club in recent times means they can only dream of spending that sort of money now.
Ainsworth said: "I always look forward to going back to my old clubs. I have good memories of Port Vale, they have a good history of football up there.
"They have great fans. They were always great to me when I was there. Hopefully they understand the position I'm in at the moment and they'll be behind me, and it'll be a good game of football."
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