A 4th versus 2nd game in League 2.
What a difference a midweek win makes. Having suffered a second consecutive 2-1 defeat last weekend, Tuesday night’s win by the same scoreline at Barnet has instilled fresh confidence amongst the squad and supporters. Steve Tully slotted in to an unfamiliar role on the right wing following Scot Bennett’s injury, and if he plays on Saturday will be making his 400th senior (i.e. Conference and above!) appearance. Alan Gow joined Scot Bennett on the injury list against Bristol Rovers, and may hope to have recovered in time to play some sort of role against Port Vale.
So, what of our visitors on Saturday? The Valiants have made a storming start to the season and currently lie in 2nd place in the table. Micky Adams, despite the ongoing financial turmoil surrounding the Potteries club (to date new owners have still not taken control and as a result the club is still in administration), assembled an expensive squad which includes Richard Duffy, who turned down a new deal at City and rumours of offers from the league above to join Vale. Key to their success to date has been the form of ex-Rotherham man Tom Pope, who like our own goal machine Jamie Cureton has 9 goals to his name so far this season – including a four-goal demolition of his former employers.
In 45 previous meetings between the sides it’s Port Vale who have the upper hand with 20 wins to City’s 14 (11 draws). However, it was City claiming all six points the last season the sides met (08/09), a memorable 3-1 win at Vale Park (Sercombe, Stewart and a bizarre Gill goal before a late consolation from Luke Rodgers) followed up by a gritty 1-0 win (Prosser OG) after City were forced to play almost 70 minutes with ten men after Danny Seaborne saw red. The 1992/93 season was full of incident between the sides – Port Vale scoring a late equaliser through Bernie Slaven to deny City a first Wembley visit in the Autoglass Trophy, then a few weeks later disgraceful scenes abound as a dreadful piece of refereeing gave Vale a late win sparking a pitch invasion which saw the referee assaulted. Hopefully Saturday’s match won’t be quite so eventful!
Lee Swabey and Brett Huxtable
Fourth Official Adam Bromley
Last reffed us last season, 1-1 draw with Notts County at home.