Stephen Darby has thanked the Valley Parade faithful for never getting on City’s backs during their barren run of results.

Tuesday’s first win in 14 attempts has revitalised the players and the fans ahead of the second part of their home triple-header against MK Dons tomorrow.

The last-gasp victory over Port Vale was also City’s first in their own backyard for nearly five months – a winless home streak spanning ten games.

City teams in the past have found themselves intimidated at times by the size of the stadium. But Darby insisted that was never an issue during their long wait for that elusive win.

The ever-present right back said: “We always look forward to playing at home because we have the crowd behind us. They are always brilliant and stick with us.

“Look back at the Crewe game when we came from 2-0 down. The place was absolutely bouncing.

“Even when the results haven’t been there, we still get that backing. They don’t start having a go.

“The players can see that and I hope the fans can see we are putting in everything and working hard to the last minute of every game.”

Darby’s pledge was backed up by Carl McHugh’s decisive header in stoppage time which finally broke Vale’s resistance. It might have come late but his fellow defender felt that justice was served.

“It’s about those fine margins,” added Darby. “You look back at the other home games and we haven’t done an awful lot wrong.

“Apart from the Rotherham game when the performance wasn’t there, every other one has gone right to the wire. We’ve created chances but had a lot of draws.

“There wasn’t a lot of difference from when we were winning games before. That’s why it has been so frustrating.

“But three points gives everyone a massive lift. Wins breed confidence and that can only be good for the team.”

City returned to the top half of League One but are still currently closer to the bottom four than the top six. Seven points is the safety margin.

Darby said: “At this stage of the season, everyone is fighting for points whether you’re up the top of the table or scrapping it out to stay up. “We’ve got to battle for every single point. We’re all sticking together as a squad and this is the time when we need to show that character.”