Vale will be eager to return to winning ways against a Gillingham side who have failed to register an away win in their last 32 attempts. After a terrific September, Vale have not won any of their last three games. Meanwhile, The Gills will be desperately seeking an end to their abysmal away record. The visitors will break with tradition and travel to the Potteries on the day of the game, a move that captain Barry Fuller believes could benefit the team.
‘They were up for a bit of a change and hopefully that will be the turning point and we can put an end to the conversation about the away record.`
‘It’s going to be a tough place to go and end it but maybe it’s the right place to go there and end it.`
The Kent club currently lie in 16th place in League Two on 13 points, having already been involved in a couple of high scoring defeats, a 5-4 loss at Bury and a 7-4 reverse at Accrington Stanley.
Micky Adams told BBC Radio Stoke. ‘I’m not talking about their away record – records are there to be broken and I’m sure that is in the back of their mind.`
‘We have to wary of their attacking threat, we have to play on their weaknesses as best we can and make sure we are solid at the back.`
‘We need to understand that teams raise their games when they play us because we are top of the league, we need to match them.`
Gillingham manager Andy Hessenthaler told the Gillingham official site that he would be sending his side out in search of that elusive away win. ‘We want to build a bit of momentum with our results because there is no point getting three points against Stockport then going up there and getting beaten. It would be nice to have a full squad to choose from but unfortunately we won’t have that option this weekend but I do believe that our squad is as good as Port Vale’s.`
‘It is a big pitch at Vale Park, with a lot of space and we need to pick a team that can go up there and get a result. The key when you go away from home is to keep in the game early on. They are the league leaders so we need to make sure that we stay tight and don’t give them a head-start.`
‘The bookies aren’t giving us any chance. They say it’s a home banker for Port Vale. That’s a shame, so it would be nice if we can get out of that cycle and record back-to-back wins. If we are going to achieve anything this year then we need to do that very quickly.`
Port Vale Team News:
Micky Adams threatened to make changes after last week`s draw at Hereford, so midfielders Doug Loft, Louis Dodds and Rob Taylor could be in contention for a starting place. Jemal Johnson should be fit after being substituted at half time last week with a dead leg. No decision has yet been taken on extending Johnson`s loan, which ends after tomorrow`s game. Lewis Haldane appears no nearer to a return to fitness after missing out on the midweek reserve game against Sheffield United. The Valiants have no other injury concerns. Possible starting line up: Tomlinson, Yates, McCombe, Owen, Collins, Johnson, Roberts, Griffith, Loft, Richards, Richards.
Player to watch: Justin Richards
The game may provide the perfect opportunity for Richards to end his goal drought. The burly front man started the season in fine fettle, but has now gone seven games without a goal.
Gillingham Team News:
Gillingham look set be without their dangerous front pairing of Adebayo Akinfenwa and the on loan Cody McDonald. Akinfenwa is a doubt with the groin injury he suffered during the win over Stockport, whilst McDonald has a calf injury. The former Brentford striker Mark McCammon could be in line for a recall after featuring in the reserve team clash against Wycombe. Defender Josh Gowling is set to be fit after a bout of illness, but winger Andy Barcham is out for another couple of weeks. The visitors may well line up in a more defensive 4-5-1 formation. Possible Team: Julian, Nutter, Lawrence, Sinclair, Fuller, Weston, Maher, Palmer, Bentley, J. Payne, McCammon.
Player to watch: Jack Payne
With The Gills set to be missing both front men, the focus may be on young midfielder, Jack Payne. The 18 year old, who has been named Gillingham`s young player of the year for the last two seasons, scored his first professional goal during last week`s win over Stockport County.
Match Facts & Stats
Vale 1 (Richards) Gillingham 3 (Oli, Miller, Jackson pen)
Gillingham 1 (McCombe OG) Vale 0
C Kavanagh and S L Massey
Fourth Official M E Weaver
Justin Richards to rediscover his shooting boots as Vale stay top with a 2-0 win.
Cheltenham Town (a) 23/10/2010 15:00