After last weeks disappointing defeat at home to Bradford (Fortress Vale Park is already becoming a fallacy and we are only midway through September) Vale travel to Darlington in the hope of continuing our staggering away form – played two, lost none).
Form wise we’ve made an average start to the season – played 5, won 2, lost 2, drawn 1. We can’t kid ourselves that automatic promotion, or even the play-off’s, are in our grasp at the moment, however we certainly are not going to be contesting a relegation battle.
Our hosts Darlington have won just one of their opening five games, thumping the hapless Macclesfield Town 6-0 at Moss Rose. No doubt ex-Vale ‘stars’ Keeper Jonny Brain and defender Richard Walker proved themselves to be more than a little helpful to The Quakers cause…
Balfour Webnet Arena…
Its one of these new stadiums with little character that stand on the outskirts of towns and as such do not have a decent boozer anywhere near the ground.
Surprisingly it has a capacity of 25,000, which does seem a bit excessive for a club with 2,856 written all over them.
Darlington Team News:
For all the latest from Vital Darlington click Here
Player to watch: Robin Hulbert…
Released by Vale in May after four years plagued by injuries at Vale Park Hulbert became a trialist at Luton during the summer before being picked up by Darlo. Surprisingly scored last week, a big shock considering his scoring record with Vale. Click HERE for the Vital profile of Hulbert.
Our old friend Clayton Fortune is also now plying his trade with Darlington. Good old Clayts, I like him.
Port Vale Team News:
Will our Skipper Sam Stockley be picked, or will he justifiably dropped after the nightmare he endured last Saturday courtesy of Bradford City’s express train of a winger Omar Daley? Well, I think Stockley should be given the chance to redeem himself, and I really don’t think there’s another player in this league with the quality possessed by Daley.
Shane Tudor managed to get on the pitch with the stiffs in midweek, although is still some way from first team contention.
Winger Paul Edwards and striker Steve Thompson are still injured, but hopefully will be able to make some sort of contribution at some point this season.
Rob Taylor has to start after his performance during his brief time on the pitch against Bradford.
Vital Vale Line up:- Anyon(GK), Stockley(RB), McCombe(CH), Slate(CH), Collins(LB), Dodds(RM), Griffith(CM), Taiwo(CM), Taylor(LM), Richards(CF), Rodgers(CF)
Player to watch: Anthony Griffith…
Griffith has impressed with his tough tackling approach in midfield, and has also proved himself to be the best right-back at the club. Could have a very interesting battle with Hulbert if they do come up against each other…
Click here for the Vital profile on Griffith.
Vale are currently 10th in the league, Darlington are three places behind in 13th.
Despite reaching the play-offs last season Darlington have failed to start the division alight in the opening month. Vale have been excellent away from home (well, we’ve done ok away from home), hence here is my prediction…
Darlington 1-3 Port Vale Of course a clean sheet is beyond us, but I think we should be taking three points from games like this. Luke Rodgers will get his season up-and-running today with a brace, Taylor with the other.