After picking up our first win of the 2023/24 season on Saturday, the Vale are back in action on Tuesday night as we take a trip to the seaside to face Blackpool.
Ben Garrity’s 72nd-minute strike helped us to all three points on Saturday when we hosted Reading in our first home league game of the season. This win came five days after we progressed into the second round of the Carabao Cup after a pulsating 3-2 victory over Fleetwood Town.
When reacting to Vale’s 1-0 victory over Reading, Port Vale manager Andy Crosby said:
“It was a contrasting game of two halves. I thought we were really passive in the first half and we allowed them to dominate the ball, we were too stretched, and we didn’t allow ourselves to get any pressure on the ball at the top end of the pitch. We spoke about one or two things at half time. We tweaked one or two things and I thought the second half performance was incredible from every single one of them. Both with and without the ball. We were deserving winners.
Whilst looking ahead to Tuesday’s fixture against Blackpool, Crosby said:
“Whoever you play in this league there’s no easy games. We’ll approach it in exactly the same manner. We’ll do our homework; we’ll look at Blackpool and ways we can try to nullify them and ways we can exploit them
“It’s important that we enjoy the win because we have also experienced the other side of it. But we have to think about recovery because the teams who recover best in this league could give themselves an advantage so it’s really, really important”
For the second game on the bounce, The Vale will be facing a side that dropped down from the league above last season. Blackpool ended the 2022/23 campaign in 23rd spot which saw them get relegated from the Championship.
The Tangerines currently sit in 8th place in Skybet League One and they are yet to lose a game this season. On the opening day, they picked up a convincing 2-0 home win against Burton Albion after Shayne Lavery scored a first half brace to give Blackpool the best possible start to their league campaign.
Four days later, they enjoyed cup success after beating Derby County by two goals to nil at Pride Park Stadium. Former Rochdale forward Jake Beesley scored twice in the first half to hand them a second-round tie against Barrow. More recently, Blackpool made the long trip to Exeter City where a 0-0 draw earned them a valuable point on their travels.
Blackpool are currently managed by former Liverpool youth team coach Neil Critchley who joined the club for his first spell as manager in March 2020. In his first full season as Manager, Blackpool finished the season in 3rd place before winning promotion via the Play Offs after a 2-1 win against Lincoln City in the final. As a result of his success, Critchley was awarded ‘Manager of the Season’ at the North West Football Awards, beating Manchester City's Pep Guardliola to the award.
In November 2021, Critchley was rewarded for his achievements with a four-year contract at Bloomfield Road. However, seven months into his new contract he left his role as Manager to become Steven Gerrard’s Assistant Manager at Aston Villa. This only lasted four months as Gerrard and his backroom team were relieved of their duties at Villa Park in October 2022.
Crtichley wasn’t out of the game for long though as he was appointed manager of QPR just two months later in a tenure that lasted for four months before returning to Blackpool on a four-year deal.
One to Watch – Shayne Lavery
Lavery began his career at Northern Irish side Oxford Sunnyside before earning a move to Everton following a successful trial in 2015. In 2017 he was an unused substitute in Everton’s Europa League fixture against Apollon Limassol. After not making a single senior appearance for The Toffee’s, Lavery moved back to Ireland to join Linfield in May 2019.
In his first season in the NIFL Premiership he scored ten goals, leading The Blues to the league title in the 2019/20 season. The following season he scored 22 goals in yet another League-winning campaign for Linfield.
In July 2021 he made the move back to North West where he joined Blackpool. On his debut, he scored a dramatic equaliser at Bristol City in August 2022. On the opening day of this season, he scored a brace against Burton Albion to get him and his side's campaign off to a flying start.
Last Time We Met
Blackpool 0-1 Port Vale, Saturday 9th January 2016:
The last competitive meeting between the sides came about seven years ago when the Vale took all three points from Bloomfield Road after winning 1-0. Byron Moore crossed from the right side towards AJ Leitch-Smith who headed straight at the keeper before bundling home the rebound to celebrate with the travelling away fans who were housed behind the goal for this particular fixture.
In fact, the Vale completed a double over the Tangerines during that 2015/16 season as we also won the home fixture 2-0. Leitch-Smith was once again on the scoresheet after he exchanged passes with Sam Kelly before firing low, underneath the keeper and into the back of the net. Four minutes from time, Chris Birchall secured the points after he directed Uche Ikpeazu’s low cross home from close range.
Blackpool 0-2 Port Vale, Monday 3rd January 2005
A brace from Lee Matthews helped the Vale to much needed in against Blackpool which stopped the rot following three losses in a row. Matthews opened the scoring for the Vale in the 72nd minute when he curled a freekick around the wall and into the back of the net.
Just six minutes later, he added a second from the penalty spot to give Vale all three points.
How to Watch
Tickets for Tuesday night’s fixture have now SOLD OUT with no further allocations of tickets available.
Andy Crosby's Valiants will be backed by more than 1,900 travelling supporters at Bloomfield Road. Thank you for your magnificent support.
If you didn't manage to get your hands on a ticket for the fixture, we have you covered on iFollow the Vale with Video Match Passes are available internationally, including the UK and Ireland.