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Kick off 19:45 (UK)

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29 December 2023 Venue Vale Park Attendance

Kick off 19:45 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Match Previews

Match Preview | Port Vale vs Blackpool

29 December 2023

The Valiants conclude 2023 with a Sky Bet League One home fixture against Blackpool this evening.

The Vale will be looking to get back to winning ways following a 3-2 home defeat against Barnsley on Boxing Day. 

Crosby’s Comments

Here’s what the gaffer had to say following Tuesday’s fixture:

“The first-half performance was nothing like what I want us to be. We didn’t play with any pride, enthusiasm or connection as a team. Certainly, without the ball. It didn’t hurt us enough.  What was happening in that first half. We looked devoid of anything”

“The second-half reaction is more like I want us to be. We played with pride, with enthusiasm and with quality. We put a team like Barnsley right on the back foot but I can’t mask over that first-half performance. It is something I have to apologise to the fans for because it was really poor”

“In the second half, we were much more like the team I want us to be. We scored two and had a number of opportunities to score more. But we have to learn that you can’t just play for 45 minutes against teams of that quality”

The Opposition

Blackpool come into the game following a Boxing Day loss to Burton Albion. However, this was only their third defeat in eight league fixtures.

In the league, The Seasiders sit in 8th spot on 36 points from 24 games. However, they have only picked up 11 points from 10 away fixtures this season.

The Tangerines are managed by Neil Critchley who is in his second spell at the club. His first stint in charge started in March 2020, and in his first full season, he guided his side to promotion via the Play Offs. In June 2022 Critchley left the club to join Aston Villa as part as Steven Gerrard’s coaching staff but they only lasted 5 months at Villa Park.

Critchley was then reappointed as Blackpool manager in May 2023 after leaving QPR after three months as manager at Loftus Road.

Player to Watch - Jordan Rhodes

The 33-year-old has played over 550 games throughout the EFL, scoring more than 200 goals. Rhodes joined the Tangerines on loan from Huddersfield Town in August and has found the net 15 times in 20 games so far this season making him the joint highest scorer in Sky Bet League One.

Another player to keep an eye out for is Karamoko Dembele. He attracted much media attention in 2016 when he made his debut for Celtic U20s aged just 13 years old. The Englishman then made his Celtic first team debut aged 16 but then failed to make regular appearances.

Dembele would then make the move to France where he joined Ligue 1 side Brest. In the summer of 2023, he joined Blackpool on loan and has since scored twice and grabbed five assists in his 17 games so far this season.

Last Time We Met

Blackpool 0-0 Port Vale, Tuesday 15th August 2023.

When the sides met at Bloomfield Road earlier this season, the game ended in a stalemate, but it wasn’t short of chances for either side. The Vale had the first effort of the game when Ethan Chislett drove into the Blackpool half before unleashing an effort that was wide of the left post. Moments later Vale thought they had took the lead when Dan Jones diverted Alex Iacovitti’s header into the back of the net. However, the linesman had his flag up and it ruled out for offside.

In the second half, CJ Hamilton had the hosts' first real effort of the game, but he could only fire straight at Connor Ripley from close range. Hamilton was causing Vale issues, his cross was met by Shayne Lavery but Ripley was on half to turn it around the post for a corner.

Jake Beesley headed over at the back post in the final minutes as the game ended 0-0 on the coast.

Fixture Throwback 

Port Vale 2-0 Blackpool, 24 November 2015.

When the sides met in the 2015/16 season, it was The Valiants who won both meetings between the sides. At Vale Park, the Vale ran out 2-0 winners thanks to two goals in the last ten minutes.

AJ Leitch-Smith opened the scoring for the Vale in the 82nd when he linked up well with Sam Kelly before firing past the keeper. Four minutes later, Chris Birchall sealed the points for The Valiants when he poked home a cross from close range.

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