Vale seek a return to winning ways when they travel to in-form Bradford City tomorrow. Micky Adams` men missed the opportunity to go top of League Two last weekend following the home defeat to Gillingham. There remains much to be positive about, however. The Valiants` early season form has provided a much needed tonic to long suffering supporters, while administrator Bob Young also offered some hope this week that a takeover of the club may be on the horizon, following the ‘serious` interest of up to three parties.
Bradford have begun the season finally looking like a side with realistic hopes of promotion after several disappointing seasons, while also enjoying a profitable League Cup run. Manager Phil Parkinson has added some much needed experience to his squad, particularly with the signings of midfielders Gary Jones and Garry Thompson.
Adams will be seeking a reaction from his players following a flat performance last week. With Gillingham successfully neutralising the threat of Vale`s wide men, the Vale boss will be hoping his attacking players will enjoy a more fruitful afternoon against a Bradford side who currently boast a one hundred per cent home record.
Bradford manager Phil Parkinson believes his side are full of confidence heading into Saturday`s game, though has warned his side of Vale`s attacking threat. “They’ve made a good start and scored a lot of goals. They’ve had some outstanding wins – the six-two game against Rotherham, plus scoring five at Fleetwood and three at Plymouth.
“We clearly know that they have some good attacking players. We will make sure that, come three o’clock, the players are fully aware of the strengths of their side.
“Equally though, I’m sure Micky saw some things on Tuesday that might well give him some concern going into this (Saturday’s) game.’
Vale Assistant manager Mark Grew told the Port Vale Official site that he was expecting a tough test at a rejuvenated Bradford. “We had Bradford watched against Oxford on Saturday and they performed very well. They are on a bit of a high as well.
“It is another game where we have to go to try and get three points and we have done well at Bradford in the last couple of years, so there`s nothing to be scared of.”
Bradford City Team News:
Parkinson made six changes to the side that defeated Burton Albion in midweek, so has some difficult selection decisions to make. James Hanson, Luke Oliver, Kyel Reid and Nahki Wells all look set to regain their starting places.
Possible Team: McLaughlin, Meredith, Davies, Oliver, McArdle, Reid, Atkinson, Jones, Doyle, Hanson, Wells.
Player to watch: Nahki Wells
The Bermudan International scored twice after coming off the bench in midweek and will be hoping to give Vale`s defence similar problems to those experienced against Robbie Findley last week.
Port Vale Team News:
Adams has threatened changes to the side that lost to Gillingham, which would end the long sequence of naming an unchanged side. Rob Taylor, Ben Williamson and Ryan Burge will all be hoping for a recall, while Gareth Owen could be an option to shore up Vale`s backline.
Possible Team: Neal, Duffy, McCombe, Owen, Loft, Morsy, Burge, Myrie-Williams, Dodds, Pope, Vincent.
Player to watch: Tom Pope
Derided for much of last season, Pope has returned fitter and more focused this term and with limited striking options in reserve his importance to the side has grown tenfold. Already with eight goals this season, Pope`s form and fitness will have a large bearing on whether Vale can last the pace.
Match Facts & Stats
Last five games:
Bradford 3-2 Burton Albion (League Cup)
Oxford United 0-2 Bradford
Bradford 3-1 Morecambe
Bradford 3-0 Barnet
Accrington 1-1 Bradford
Vale 0-2 Gillingham
Fleetwood 2-5 Vale
Plymouth 1-3 Vale
Vale 6-2 Rotherham
Vale 1-1 Torquay
Paul Thompson and Glen Hart
Fourth Official Martin Coy
Tom Pope`s equaliser earns the Valiants a 1-1 draw.
Dagenham & Redbridge (h) 03/10/2012 7.45pm