Tomorrow marks the opening day of the 2018/2019 season for the Valiants, as we host Cambridge United. A fresh start. A new era. A new season. Neil Aspin will lead the Vale into the new campaign in his first full season as manager of Port Vale, backed by his squad who will look to start the season in the best possible way.
Date: Saturday 4th August 2018
Competition: Sky Bet League 2
Venue: Vale Park
Last visit to Vale Park: Port Vale 2 - 0 Cambridge United
Referee: Trevor Kettle
Suspended: Antony Kay
Top goalscorer last season: Tom Pope
After the final day of the season at Cambridge United where the Valiants suffered a 5-0 defeat leaving them to finish the season just a point above the relegation zone, their joint worst finish in the Football League in the clubs history, Neil Aspin says he wants a perforamnce from his players this weekend that'll make the fans proud.
The Vale have certianly been busy over the summer. Ten players were released, with a further four leaving the club on a permanent basis or on loan. Neil Aspin was determined to improve the overall quality of the squad and has significantly rebuilt, bringing in 12 fresh faces so far and still hopes to add more with last seasons loanee Kyle Howkins hoping to make a return.
A concern for Neil Aspin over pre season was picking up injuries and so far that has been kept to a minimum. Tom Conlon is the only major injury concern. The midfielder is set to face a month on the sidelines after picking up an injury against Wolves in a pre season friendly. Manny Oyeleke and Ricky Miller will be hoping to start tomorrow despite the lack of playing time since arriving due to minor injuries.
Top goalscorer last season: Uche Ikpeazu
The loss of last seasons top goalscorer, Uche Ikpeazu, to Hearts is a big blow for Cambridge United but assistant manager Mark Bonner has already expressed the U's intentions to attack teams much more this season and will take the confidence from the last result against the Vale into tomorrows fixture.
The transfer activty from Cambridge has been minimal to say the least compared to previous seasons. Three players have arrived whilst four departed, most notably Leon Legge to the Valiants, who could be in contention to face his former side tomorrow.
Despite just three signigns, fans are excited to see manager Joe Dunne take charge of a very similar squad and believe his exciting style of football can put the U's in contention for a promotion spot.
Neil Aspin: "A win gives everybody belief, it gets you up and running in terms of points on the board which is extremely important. Like we found last year, the longer you go without winning at home, it's possible to go on a run and the pressure starts to build. You're not going to win or lose what you do in a season based on the first game, but it'll be nice to start with a win."
Tom Pope: "I think we've brought a few lads in that have certainly made us better. Connell has looked excellent defensively, Manny has struggled with his injuries but he looks like he's going to be a big asset for us during the season, Joycey keeps the ball ticking over nicely. I do believe we've certainly got a stronger group this year."
Follow The Vale will be providing full 90 minute commentary from the match, while the Port Vale Twitter and Facebook feed will be providing live updates for the entirety.
There will also be build-up to the game with the official Snapchat account: officialpvfc.
Reaction will be available on the official website post-match, as well as on YouTube, iFollow and social media.