Vale face an away trip for the second time this week as they travel to Prenton Park on Saturday afternoon, with Tranmere Rovers the opposition in Sky Bet League Two. All the key information ahead of the clash can be found below...
Date: Saturday 25th August 2018
Competition: Sky Bet League Two
Venue: Prenton Park
Last time we met: Port Vale 3-2 Tranmere Rovers
Referee: Dean Whitestone
Top goal scorer: Tom Pope and Luke Hannant (2 goals)
Port Vale will be hoping that they can pick up their first away victory of the 2018/19 campaign on Saturday afternoon, but they will take encouragement from their last outing in Sky Bet League Two. Luke Hannant’s late free-kick wasn’t enough to get anything from the game at Carlisle United, but there were plenty of positives to take away from Brunton Park.
Neil Aspin’s men have made a steady start to the new season with two wins and two defeats, but a heavy defeat versus Lincoln City saw them bow out of the Carabao Cup. With just four league fixtures played, Vale lie 11th in Sky Bet League Two.
The Valiants will have to do without Manny Oyeleke on Saturday as the midfielder continues to nurse an injury he sustained during the win over Crawley Town. Tom Conlon is also sidelined, meaning Luke Joyce and Antony Kay are likely to partner each other in the centre of midfield.
Top goal scorer: James Norwood (4 goals)
After winning promotion back into the Football League last season, Micky Mellon’s men will be hoping that they can accustom to life in Sky Bet League Two as quickly as possible. They have one league victory to their name after the opening few weeks of the campaign, and they will be confident following a home draw against Mansfield Town last time out.
They remain unbeaten on home soil in the league after they edged past Cheltenham Town, but they did fall to a 3-1 defeat to Walsall at Prenton Park in the Carabao Cup. Only one defeat has been tasted so far, with that coming in the form of a 3-2 loss away at Swindon Town.
Franklyn Akammadu could be handed his debut after signing from US Alessandria, but only if he is granted international clearance. Jay Harris is also unavailable due to suspension, whilst Adam Buxton (hernia), Liam Ridehalgh (leg), Richie Sutton (leg) and Zoumana Bakayogo (calf) are all ruled out.
One to watch: Ollie Banks
The midfielder made the permanent move to Merseyside this summer after he spent a period of time on loan at Tranmere last season. He also represented Swindon Town during 2018 after joining on a temporary basis from Oldham Athletic, but he was released by the Latics following their relegation to Sky Bet League Two.
A creative hub who forms a key part of Tranmere’s attacking play, the 25-year-old provides ammunition for James Norwood who has four league goals to his name from as many games. At 6 feet 3 inches, Banks also offers great aerial threat from set pieces and is a handful to deal with.
Capable of drifting into wide areas and delivering dangerous crosses from the flank, he is a player to keep an eye on. His specialism in dead ball situations also means he is a threat on free-kick duty, and he will be looking to open his goal scoring account this weekend.
Gary Brabin: “Defensively we feel like we’re in a good place and we think we’ll get better again – we just need to take that bit more pressure off the defence by being a bit better than what we’ve shown of late attacking wise.
“We’re working hard trying to get little combinations and finding the right balance, but the lads are optimistic."
Micky Mellon: “We’re still cautiously optimistic and we’re pleased with the work that’s gone in, yet we should have more points and it’s part of a learning curve.
“We will learn from that, as well as some of the defending - you have to be on the money all of the time or you get punished at this level. We’re keen to learn and we have an appetite to keep wanting to improve.”
Follow The Vale will be providing full 90 minute commentary from the match, whilst the Port Vale Twitter and Facebook feeds will be providing live updates for the entirety.
There will also be build-up to the game with the official Snapchat and Instagram accounts: officialpvfc.
Reaction will be available on the official website post-match, as well as on YouTube, iFollow and social media.