Old acquaintances will be renewed at Vale Park this Saturday when the Valiants play a League game against Coventry City for the first time since March 1964. The two sides played out a brace of 1-1 draws over the Easter period of that particular season.
The game will also see Vale boss Micky Adams come up against a side he both played for and managed, while Chairman Norman Smurthwaite is a life-long supporter of the Sky Blues. Smurthwaite`s call for Vale supporters to applaud the visiting fans in a show of solidarity may fall on deaf ears, although the Vale faithful will both sympathise and empathise with the plight of Coventry supporters. A 10-point deduction came as a cruel blow following the club`s exit from the Ricoh Arena and the city of Coventry. The subsequent move to Northampton has seen Coventry fans vote with their feet – only around 1600 have made the trip for each of their ‘home` fixtures. The economic and political uncertainty that surrounds the club continues to overshadow what has been a promising start on the pitch. The Sky Blues would be handily placed in 5th position in League One but for that penalty, while Steven Pressley`s young side have been the division`s entertainers, scoring 22 times in their last eight games. The front pairing of Leon Clarke and Callum Wilson will prove a real handful for a Vale side which has leaked too many goals for comfort already this season.
There were enough signs of promise in last weekend`s defeat at Leyton Orient where Vale`s positive approach deserved more than the end result, as well as showing some of the attacking style which saw the Valiants end last season as the top scorers in the land. Another crowd of over 10,000 is expected, with Coventry selling around 2,500 tickets at the time of writing.
Micky Adams has revealed he feels sympathy for Coventry supporters who have opted not to travel to Northampton to watch their side. The former Sky Blues boss told the Vale Official Site
“It`s the supporters that you have got to feel sorry for. They support their football club but the majority of them have decided they don`t want to go to Northampton to support their football club and I can fully understand that.
“I am not here to castigate them; I think that is a personal choice. I know many Coventry City supporters who are still good friends of mine that won`t set foot in Northampton, but that`s their choice.
“All I would say to them is they are missing out on a great young side that are doing well this season and are a credit to their city.”
Coventry manager Steven Pressley is aware that teams are beginning to take notice of his young side and revealed he was prepared for the Valiants to either take the game to his side, or to sit back and defend. “I would think being at home he`ll be more positive but I wouldn`t put it beyond them to set up to deny us space and try to counter attack us.
“But I think when you are playing at home there is more onus on you to attack. Again, it will be one of the challenges this season with opponents beginning to know our strengths and trying to deny us, so we have to continually find new ways and methods to get round that- but they are a good side with the bit between their teeth and they proved at the weekend when they were unfortunate to lose at Leyton Orient.”
Port Vale Team News:
Micky Adams` defensive options are fairly limited so he may name the same team that pushed the league leaders close last week. Rob Taylor is still some way short of match fitness, while Gavin Tomlin looks set to join Daniel Jones on the injury list.
Possible Team: Neal, Duffy, Robertson, Chilvers, Dickinson, Myrie-Williams, Griffith, Loft, Dodds, Pope, Mohamed.
Player to watch: Jennison Myrie-Williams
The winger has shown signs of recapturing his best form of late, and despite facing increased attention from opposition defensives, remains one of the keys to Vale`s attacking play.
Coventry City Team News:
Coventry may name an unchanged side having gone unbeaten in their last six matches.
Player to watch: Callum Wilson
The Coventry born youngster broke into the first team squad following the departure of manager Mark Robins to Huddersfield last season. He has quickly established a place in the starting line up this term, scoring eight times already and forging a threatening partnership with the much travelled Leon Clarke.
Match Facts & Stats
Last 5 matches:
Leyton Orient 3-2 Vale
Carlisle 0-1 Vale
Vale 2-1 Bury (JPT)
Vale 1-3 Wolves
Oldham 3-1 Vale
Coventry 2-1 Gillingham
Coventry 2-0 Colchester
Carlisle 0-4 Coventry
Coventry 5-4 Bristol City
Leyton Orient 3-2 Coventry (League Cup)
James Mainwaring and Guy Stretton
Fourth Official Simon Mather
The home side to edge a five goal thriller. 3-2.
Tranmere Rovers (a) 28th September 15.00