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Match Previews

Match Preview: Port Vale vs Tranmere Rovers

19 February 2019

Port Vale welcome Tranmere Rovers to Vale Park in Sky Bet League Two on Tuesday evening, and you can find all of the key information ahead of the game below...

Fixture: Port Vale vs Tranmere Rovers

Competition: Sky Bet League Two

Date: Tuesday 19th February 2019

Kick-Off: 7:45pm

Venue: Vale Park

Referee: Trevor Kettle

 

Port Vale

Form: LDWLWLLDLL

League Position: 20th

Top Scorer: Tom Pope (11 goals)

Despite creating a host of chances during Saturday's fixture against Morecambe, the Valiants fell to a 1-0 defeat which means John Askey is still searching for his first win as Vale boss. He will be hoping his side can claim three points to widen the gap between themselves and the bottom two.

When the new manager was appointed earlier this month, he had stressed the need to improve the home form as Vale are without a win at Vale Park since October in the league. He and the squad will take confidence from how many opportunities they carved out at the weekend, but it's imperative that performances are transformed into results.

As goals continue to prove hard to come by, Askey will be boosted by the return of Ricky Miller after the striker served a three-game suspension that was picked up for a high challenge in the defeat to Carlisle United. Manny Oyeleke has missed the last few games through a calf injury, however, and it remains to be seen whether or not he is fit enough to return to action. 

Tranmere Rovers

Form: WDDLWLLLWD

League Position: 11th

Top Scorer: James Norwood (22 goals)

Micky Mellon's men currently lie in a mid-table position following a recent dip in form, but they will have one eye on a play-off spot should they come out on top at Vale Park. They sit just six points below 7th-placed Carlisle United, and they will be determined to make a push for a top seven finish in their final games of the season.

They earned a point away to Cambridge United on Saturday afternoon, but they are now without a win in the league on their travels since beating Cheltenham Town 3-1 on the 12th January. Rovers have only picked up three points away on three occasions this season, and they rank 18th in the division for results away from Prenton Park.

Tranmere will be hoping that Sid Wilson can make the trip to Burslem after he missed out at the weekend due to a broken nose, but Stephen McNulty is still an absentee due to an Achilles problem. Ollie Banks also remains a doubt after he was struck in the ear with a ball, but he could feature depending on how his recovery progresses. 

One to watch: James Norwood

When you look at Tranmere's squad, one name stands out immediately and that is James Norwood who leads the division's scoring charts with 20 goals to his name. The 28-year-old striker has found the net on 22 occasions in all competitions, and he will be eager to add more to his tally.

Despite being on the books of Brighton & Hove Albion and Crystal Palace as a youth player, he was forced to prove his ability in non-league with Eastbourne Town before making the move to Exeter City following a successful trial in 2009.

After a few loan spells and a four-year stint at Forest Green Rovers, Norwood signed for Tranmere on a free transfer in 2015, and he has proved to be a very shrewd acquisition. With plenty of pace, technical ability and a coolness in front of goal, the forward is capable of producing match-winning moments on a regular basis.

Talk

John Askey: "We know the importance of it and it changes things dramatically if we can get that win, and that would give us the confidence that enables the players to start to believe in what we're doing.

"I know a lot about Tranmere from last year and the majority of the squad is still the same as it was last season. I've seen them three or four times this season, so we know what to expect - the big threat is James Norwood.

 Micky Mellon: “I don’t want disappointment to build all of a sudden on a, so far, fantastic season. We are new to this division and are doing really, really well. We will have a right good blast at getting into the play-offs, which would be a major achievement for a team that’s new to this level.”

 

Coverage

iFollow 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.


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