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Port Vale Preview

Andy Phillips previews Michael Jolley's first game in charge at the weekend.

9 March 2018

Michael White
New boss, Michael Jolley

Town take on Port Vale on Saturday afternoon (3pm) as new manager Michael Jolley takes charge for the first time.


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After officially being presented to the media on Monday, Jolley will be eager to begin his reign with three points in a game that could very well be one of the biggest games of the season.

With Vale in a similar position to the Mariners, both sides will see it as a chance to get an important three points as they look to move away from the bottom of the table, so it should prove to be an interesting encounter.

Team news

Vale aiming to avoid relegation

It hasn't been the best of seasons for Port Vale so far, and they find themselves looking to steer clear of their second relegation in a row.

After being relegated from League One last May, the club had a struggling start to the season and boss Michael Brown left the club in September after a winless start to the season.

Club legend and former Halifax and Gateshead boss Neil Aspin is now in charge and has steadied the ship somewhat since his arrival, but the club have been on a bad run again since the New Year like the Mariners, and haven't won in 10 league games heading int othe weekend.

The club received a further blow last week when it was announced that top scorer Tom Pope, who has it 16 goals so far this campaign, so if he is to be missing for this crunch period of the season, they will be relying on the likes of Ecuadorian forward Cristian Montano and on loan Burton Albion winger Marcus Harness to drag them to safety.

Town looking to do the double

Town will be looking to get their second victory of the season against Vale after winning 2-1 at Vale Park back in October in Neil Aspin's first game in charge.

On that day, Tom Pope gave Vale the lead just before half time but Town responded in the second half through goals from Sam Jones and Siriki Dembele to come away with all three points.

The two sides have met 88 times over the years, with Town winning 38 and Vale winning 33, along with 17 draws.   

Form guide



Managers in summary

Michael Jolley: “We have got to focus on getting everything we can out of this first game.

“I know the manager Neil Aspin. I spoke to him when he was the manager at Gateshead, and he wanted to take one of our players from there.

“He is a good person, and has a lot of experience in football – he knows his way around this level of the game.

“When he went in there, he got a good response from his team. They’ve not been on quite such a good run recently, but we know they are going to be very competitive and well organised.

“They will be difficult to beat and we are expecting a very tough game.”

Neil Aspin: "It's time now for people to pull their fingers out, and everything will be forgotten if they can produce.

"If someone can score goals, do well, then the supporters will have someone new they can give a hero's worship, like they do with Tom Pope.

"Some of the players might argue that they haven't had a run in the team. They're going to get a run in the team now, and they've got to take the chance."  

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