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Page last updated at 13:19 GMT, Friday, 30 July 2010 14:19 UK

Squad unity vital for Port Vale defender Gareth Owen

Port Vale defender Gareth Owen
Gareth Owen wore a mask last season to protect a fractured cheekbone

Port Vale defender Gareth Owen has stressed the importance of unity within the squad as they prepare for an assault on promotion from League Two.

Vale have retained the majority of the squad that finished 10th last season and have added just four new players.

Owen told BBC Radio Stoke: "Everyone gets on well and you don't have the first few days being uneasy.

"The team spirit was as good as when we left it, and we're going to need that because it's a long, hard season."

Vale have signed Stuart Tomlinson, Justin Richards, Ritchie Sutton and Gary Roberts since the end of the campaign, as well as former loanee Sean Rigg on a permanent deal from Bristol Rovers.

Owen believes familiarity with manager Micky Adams will also help the team this season, having played under the former Leicester, Coventry and Brighton boss.

"Last year we had a new manager and we weren't quite sure what to expect," added the 27-year-old defender. "We know now what he wants and we know his rules.

"We also know how the other lads work, who needs that bit more encouragement and who doesn't."

Owen won promotion from League Two via the play-offs with Stockport County in 2008.

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