Vale’s opponents in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy here at Vale Park this evening come here in a rich vein of form, despite struggling at the wrong end of the League One table.
Neil McDonald’s Blackpool side haven’t had the best of starts since being relegated from the Championship, struggling to adapt to life in the lower division.
After being unbeaten in pre-season, most Blackpool supporters will have been full of confidence once the new season started.
They started with a 2-2 draw away to Colchester United, before losing away to Northampton in the Capital One Cup and then lost their next four league games, leaving them rooted to the foot of the table following a 4-0 home defeat to Walsall.
The gloom was lifted temporarily with an away win against Scunthorpe, but when they went the next three games without a win, confidence will presumably have been at an all-time low.
Two wins followed that, however, with both Chesterfield and fancied Swindon being forced to leave Bloomfield Road with their tails between their legs and the Seasiders come to Vale Park in a buoyant mood.
Rob Page is expected McDonald to put out his strongest side for this evening’s cup tie, hoping to capitalise on their previous two results and keep the confidence high.
After tonight’s game they have a week and a half to recover, after this weekend’s fixture at Bradford was called off due to the Bantams having three players called up for international duty.
Rob Page has also said he will play what he considers to be a strong Vale side with the aim of progressing in a competition in which they have the most realistic chance of a trip to Wembley.
With two wins and a draw from their last three games, Vale also go into tonight’s fixture full of confidence, though certainly not with any thoughts that this game will be anything but a difficult affair.
The game is too early for midfielder Michael O’Connor to feature, though there is a chance he may be considered for Vale’s reserve encounter with neighbours Stoke City on Wednesday night.