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Match Previews

Port Vale Preview

Andy Phillips previews Saturday's trip to Port Vale.

6 October 2017

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Town make the trip to Port Vale on Saturday afternoon (3pm) as they look to pick up a valuable three points.

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The Mariners' goalless draw with Lincoln City at Blundell Park was followed up by defeat to Scunthorpe United in the Checkatrade Trophy in the week, and they will now be looking to get back to winning ways against a struggling Vale side who have just announced Neil Aspin as their new manager.

Summerfield and Clarke doubts  

Luke Summerfield (groin) and Nathan Clarke (thigh) are doubts for the game after missing training this week, which could mean two changes to the side that faced Lincoln City last week. In terms of long term injuries, Akwasi Asante came through an hour for the reserves earlier in the week so is making good progress but the game will come too soon for him.

It remains to be seen whether new boss Aspin will make changes for the game but Vale have a number of players on the sidelines. They could welcome back experienced midfielder Danny Pugh from injury but Winger Cristian Montano, striker Anton Forrester, defender Kjell Knops and goalkeeper Rob Lainton are likely to remain out. 

A tough start for Vale

It has been a difficult start to the season for Port Vale, whose downward spiral has continued after relegation from League One last campaign and they will now be hoping new boss Neil Aspin can turn things around.

Aspin joins the club from Gateshead, where he has been since November 2015 but he is more known for his six year spell in charge of FC Halifax Town, winning three promotions and helping them to the National League play-offs during his time there. He is somewhat of a legend at Vale Park, having made over 350 appearances for the club during a ten year spell and will be looking to use his success as a player to help turn the side's fortunes around. 

He takes over from former Sheffield United midfielder Michael Brown, who left the club after seven games without a victory following a 3-1 victory at Crawley Town on the opening day, and Vale are still looking for their first league victory since then. 

Despite the start, Vale do have plenty of experience in their ranks including defender Anthony Kay, midfielder Michael Tonge and strike pair Tyrone Barnett and Tom Pope, so they certainly have enough to turn things around under the new boss. 

An FA Cup upset last time out

The last meetings between the two sides came in a pair of FA Cup first round ties back in November 2011.

A goalless draw between the two sides at Vale Park in the original tie was followed by a replay at Blundell Park, where a late Serge Makofo winner completed an upset against a side that that were two leagues above the Mariners at the time.

Town and Vale have met 87 times over the years, with Town winning 37 and Vale winning 33, along with 17 draws.   

Managers in summary

Russell Slade: ''He’s an old favourite there (Neil Aspin), he played there for 10 years and Rudgie (John Rudge) as well. He’s a bit of a Port Vale legend so it kind of makes it a little bit more difficult with a more positive crowd and maybe more numbers. Port Vale has always been a difficult place to go. They've got off to a difficult start this season and I’m sure that between them they can turn it round but let’s hope it is after Saturday. When you look at what they’ve got on paper, they are quite threatening. My personal opinion is that they are in a false position and I think at some stage they will get out.”

Neil Aspin: It’s great to have a home game to start with, but it’s all about the result. If we don’t get the right one it would be disappointing, but I’m looking forward to it. The biggest thing is that the supporters get behind the team. It’s not about myself in the dugout or whoever is in the stands, it’s about the players on the pitch. At this moment in time, they need the support of all Port Vale fans and I know how much the club means to the supporters here. If they show that passion, it is then up to the lads to respond.”

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