Preview: Exeter City vs Port Vale

City kicked off their league season with a creditable draw away to one side predicted to do well, and the first home league match this weekend is against another side tipped by many to do well. With Randell Williams thought to be mulling over a move that at time of writing hasn’t yet happened, he was missing from the matchday squad at Salford and is unlikely to feature this weekend either. That gave an opportunity to Joel Randall, which he seized by scoring one of City’s goals last week. Elsewhere it’s injuries that are likely to dictate what sort of side Matt Taylor puts out, the friendly at Weymouth on Tuesday night giving him an opportunity to get some match fitness into the legs of those who didn’t feature at Southend although the likes of Jake Caprice are still a little way off returning.

When the 19/20 season was curtailed in March, Port Vale were considered to be very altruistic in voting for the curtailment despite an unbeaten 8-match run pushing them right into playoff contention. Their late season form, plus the addition of a few signings that ought to do well at this level, has seen the Valiants installed amongst the dark horse bets for promotion, with most pundits at least expecting a playoff tilt under manager John Askey, who was in the news this week as part of the demise of his former club Macclesfield, where it was revealed they owed him £170,000 in unpaid wages. Amongst the signings are the likes of Theo Robinson, who should score goals at this level, while Harry McKirdy and his short shorts have made the trip from Carlisle to add further firepower. There will be a couple of familiar faces making the trip albeit possibly only making the bench in Manny Oyeleke and Dino Visser. One name definitely missing from the team sheet will be veteran striker Tom Pope, serving a lengthy ban following a Twitter indiscretion.

Port Vale’s good run to end the season commenced with a 3-1 win at Vale Park over City. Nicky Ajose’s goal saw City lead at half time before a Bennett penalty, Legge and Bennett again sealed a comeback win. The reverse at the Park saw late goals from Bowman and Lee Martin clinch the points for City. Port Vale have the edge in league head to heads with 21 wins to City’s 18, 11 matches finishing level.

The match officials for the game are:-

Referee: Sam Purkiss
Assistant Referees: Samuel Ogles and Michael Begley
Fourth Official : Garry Maskell

Just the two games for Sam Purkiss in charge of Exeter, both last season


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