Hi Ho it's to Vale we go
I love Boxing day games....play spot the Xmas present, new scarfs, cigars instead to B&H and a local derby as well...well as close as we get rhis season anyway.
Added to the christmas spice is Vale are managed by old boy Lee Sinnott. However Lee Sinnotts black and white army aren't doing too well at the present time, although I am told performances are on the up and effort and workrate has inceased since Lee took charge, as was shown in an away win at the Gills. This was followed by that cup defeat at our local friends Chasetown in the cup, and that still hurts the boys from Vale park, confidence is the missing factor and in fact they could have scored four at the Forest on saturday except Luke Rodgers has lost his shooting boots following his double penalty miss against the Scholars........saddlers beware they will be up for this one and Rodgers will have to score again sometimes.
DD spoke after the Millwall run out
'It was a comprehensive performance,' he said. 'I felt that it was always going to be a difficult game, but we played extremely well.
'We've got good energy in the team and moved the ball around well. We stuck to our beliefs and that was the most important thing for me.'
SO MORE OF THE SAME PLEASE
Port Vale Team News:
No injury news from Vale park so it could well be the same again for Vale. Midfielder Laird gained rave reviews and defender Pilkington has returned to form according to my Vale sources, the problem seems to be up front where Wilcox and Rodgers have struggled to hit the net in recent weeks, they have ex Barnsley hit man Marc Richards in reserve but he is yet to win over the locals
Player to watch: Luke Rodgers
Proven goalscorer for Shrewsbury and was hoping to set the league alight following a spell at Crewe. He had a bright start and seemed to be getting all Vales goals, and has a mean free kick. However since his double penalty miss against Chasetown his confidence seems low he will be hoping to put a horrendous showing against Forest behind him where he missed a few sitters.
Walsall Team News:
Transfer speculation has broke about Leeds wanting Gerrard and Fox it is hoped that such talk doesn't unsettle the youngsters. Fox should regain his left back spot after suspension.
We had the luxuary of been able to rest Ricketts at half time as he was suffering the after effects of flu (or was it man flu!!!) we will have to see if a few days extra will give him a clean bill of health. As for our other injury victim Mark Bradley, he suffered a stud inthe leg but Walsall are hopeful he will be fit but will face a last minute decision. If not our midfield could be looking a bit threadbare. The key in the wide open spaces of Vale park could be how our wingers perform.
Player to watch: Peter Sweeney
He has already won over the Banks's faithful and whilst he is not as enegetic as some would like, he is quality on the ball. The on loan Stoke player is bound to get some stick from the Vale fans, but the wide open spaces of Vale park could suit him....first goal in a Saddlers shirt perhaps
Match Facts & Stats
Local derby so form goes out of the window....quiet lucky for Vale since we are the form team at the moment. Our strenght seems to be clean sheets whilst they can't score. However we only drew at the Banks's earlier in the season and our recent record against them isn't good, if we are going to push on we need to win these games.
Forest 2 - 0 Port Vale
Port Vale 0 - 0 Tranmere
Gillingham 1 - 2 Port Vale
Leeds Utd 3 - 0 Port Vale
Port Vale 1 - 3 Doncaster
Oldham 1 - 1 Port Vale
I hate predicying local derbys but we should have too much for Vale..... away win in front of what I expect to be a rather large away following much more than the 976 that travelled to The Banks's in September.
29th Dec at 3pm away to Oldham, more than likely no Ricketts and a real test as Oldham and especially the convict Hughes are in really good form.