The Valiants welcome Bristol City to the Potteries on Saturday, with the visitors having not won a League game in seventeen attempts.
Sean O`Driscoll`s men have endured a difficult run having suffered relegation from the Championship last season. The Robins have so far taken only five points from their opening nine games. However, City have recorded wins against Gillingham and Crystal Palace in the League Cup and a morale boosting victory over city rivals Bristol Rovers in the JPT.
Confidence is high in the Vale camp after back to back wins over Coventry City and Tranmere Rovers. Vale have played some excellent stuff in those two matches and caretaker manager Rob Page will be hoping to see his side continue that form ahead of the first of three home games this week.
City were among the favourites to gain promotion from League One this year and their squad certainly contains enough talent, on paper, to achieve that goal. The likes of Stephen Pearson, Marlon Harewood, Sam Baldock and Nicky Shorey have all played at the highest level. The signings of Aden Flint and Marlon Pack appeared astute ones, with both players being particularly impressive at both Swindon and Cheltenham last season. The front two of Baldock and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas will provide a test for a Vale defence which has proved far from impregnable times this season.
Vale Assistant manager Mark Grew said the staff is fully focused on what will be a tough game on Saturday. Speaking to the Official Site Grew said: “Sean O`Driscoll is a very experienced manager and I am sure he will be working very hard to get them back on the right track.
“We are expecting a tough game. We had them watched on Saturday and they have got some good players in there.
“But like I said last week before the game at Tranmere, when somebody is down you have got to kick them and keep them down there and that is what we plan to do again.
“We are going to be positive on Saturday. They have obviously watched us in our last two or three games and know what they are going to be in for.
“If you look at their team you wonder why they are down there. Obviously confidence isn`t as high as it should be at that club and what we have got to do is keep it low.
“But we are not all that worried about them too much; it is about what we do. If we are firing on all cylinders we won`t have a problem on Saturday.”
City manager Sean O`Driscoll has vowed to keep faith with his methods despite some unrest at his side`s slow start. Talking to the Bristol Post, the former Doncaster Rovers boss felt his side wasn`t far away from finding their best form. ‘When you look at the reasons we haven’t picked up as many points as some of our performances have perhaps deserved, it hasn’t been because of a lack of effort, confidence, morale or work-rate.”
“The boys can’t be faulted for any of those things in any game we’ve played, including Shrewsbury Town last time out here at Ashton Gate.
“One goal has proved the difference in all our league defeats so far, bar Peterborough United, and we’ve conceded far too many decisive goals in the last ten minutes. Bradford City’s equaliser came in the 80th minute and Coventry City, Wolves and Swindon Town all got winners in the last five minutes. Extremely valuable points were lost at the death.”
Port Vale Team News:
Despite the return to fitness of Daniel Jones, Robert Page may name the side that won at Tranmere last week. That may mean no place for the former City winger Jennison Myrie-Williams.
Probable Team: Neal, Yates, Robertson, Chilvers, Dickinson, Birchall, Lines, Griffith, Loft, Pope, Williamson.
Player to watch: Chris Lines
The former Bristol Rovers midfielder will be keen to get one over on the red half of the city. After a slow start to life in a Vale shirt, Lines has been instrumental in the back to back victories Vale have enjoyed, marking the win at Tranmere with his first goal for the club.
Bristol City Team News:
Defenders Aden Flint and Louis Carey are struggling with injury and illness respectively, while the former Vale defender James O`Connor, on loan from Derby is out with a torn thigh muscle.
Possible Team: Parish, Moloney, Williams, Flint, Shorey, Wagstaff, Reid, Bryan, Pack, Baldock, Emmanuel-Thomas.
Player to watch: Sam Baldock
The striker secured a big money move to West Ham United from MK Dons although struggled to hold down a regular first team spot. A move to Bristol City has seemed to reignite his career Baldock has started the season well, scoring six times already.
Match Facts & Stats
Last Meeting: Bristol City 2-1 Port Vale 30th December 2006
Last 5 matches:
Tranmere Rovers 0-1 Vale
Vale 3-2 Coventry City
Leyton Orient 3-2 Vale
Carlisle 0-1 Vale
Vale 2-1 Bury (JPT)
Bristol City 1-1 Colchester
Southampton 2-0 Bristol City (League Cup)
Swindon 3-2 Bristol City
Bristol City 1-1 Shrewsbury
Bristol City 0-3 Peterborough
Simon Barrow and Andy Hendley
Fourth Official Joe Clark
The Valiants continue their good form with a hard fought 2-1 win.
Rochdale (h) JPT Tuesday 08/10/2013 7.30pm