City’s season appears to be firmly back on track after a minor wobble with wins over Cheltenham and West Ham’s youngsters ahead of a tricky trip on Saturday. Matt Taylor’s biggest problem appears to be in defence with Jimmy Oates limping out of the midweek West Ham victory to potentially join Troy Brown and Craig Woodman on the sidelines. Otherwise it’s likely to be pretty much as you were elsewhere, with Jonathan Forte having scored three goals in the two matches since his return from injury.
After a difficult first season back in the basement that saw them change manager and be in danger of getting sucked in to the relegation dogfight, there are signs of improvement in Neil Aspin’s first full season in charge at Port Vale, with his side sitting comfortably in mid-table currently. Aspin was busy during the summer, with seven signings and six loanees joining the Valiants, and while it seemed to take time for the new look squad to gel, successive victories over Northampton and Crewe suggest better times ahead. One of those signings was Manny Oyeleke from Aldershot, who endured a tough season at City before dropping back into non-league and now has a second chance to impress, including a fine goal in the win over Northampton. Key to their success, however, is Tom Pope, who has four goals so far this season.
Last season saw 1-0 away wins in both matches. It was that man Pope who did the damage at the Park, before Jordan Storey gave notice of his burgeoning talent in a rearranged fixture in March with the only goal. Port Vale have the edge in league head to heads with 20 wins to City’s 16 (10 draws). Head to head details between these two teams can be found at http://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?p=9096
Referee: Sebastian Stockbridge
Assistant Referees: Ian Smedley and Richard Wigglesworth
Fourth Official: Ravel Cheosiaua
Just the four games in charge of Exeter, details at http://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?s=stockbridge