The Vale travel to the Banks’s Stadium on Saturday afternoon, where John Askey’s side will be looking to consolidate their place in the play-off positions with three points against Walsall.
Fixture: Walsall v Port Vale
Competition: Sky Bet League Two
Date: Saturday 22nd February 2020
Kick-off: 3:00 pm
Venue: Banks’s Stadium
Referee: Anthony Backhouse
Manager: John Askey
Top Goal Scorer: Tom Pope (10 goals)
Vale will be aiming to continue an exceptional run of form with a win at Walsall, and their confidence will be sky high after a comfortable 3-0 victory over Colchester United last time out.
Last weekends’ win against Colchester was preceded by impressive away wins at Northampton and Forest Green Rovers, which have fired the Vale into the play-off positions, where they will be looking to finish at the end of the league season. The Valiants are unbeaten in six games, since a January loss at top of the league Swindon, and will be aiming to continue their impressive run of form at Walsall on Saturday.
The Valiants were also handed a boost when first-team coach Danny Pugh revealed that both David Amoo and Jake Taylor had both returned to training this week. There are no fresh injury concerns.
Manager: Darrell Clarke
Top Goal Scorers: Josh Gordon & Caolan Lavery (8 goals)
Following last seasons’ relegation from League One, Walsall initially struggled to adapt to life in League Two, and flirted with the relegation zone for much of the first half of the season. However, a dramatic upturn in form, including a 1-0 win at Vale Park, in the home first league meeting between the sides this season, has led them well away from danger of dropping out of the Football League and comfortably into mid-table.
The Saddlers are unbeaten in three, with a win at Forest Green and a win at home against Northampton, whilst they earnt a point away at Newport last week. Darrell Clarke’s side currently sit 13th in mid-table, nine points adrift from the final play-off spot, but now well clear of bottom-placed Stevenage, with a gap of 21 points.
One to watch: Josh Gordon
After a very successful start to his career in the non-league pyramid, with teams such as Newcastle Town and Nantwich Town, Josh Gordon finally got his professional break at Leicester City in 2017.
Whilst he could not break into the first team at Leicester, he earned himself a move to Walsall, who were playing in League One at the time, and impressed management and fans alike despite the clubs’ relegation that season.
Gordon has kicked on this season, and with three goals in his last five games, he is Walsall’s joint top-scorer alongside Caolan Lavery and is one of the Saddlers’ biggest success stories of the season.
Rhys Browne: “It’s up to us to keep that level and to keep each other grounded and to not get too carried away with the position we are in right now.”
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