A return to Vale Park beckons for Vale on Saturday, and the first of three visitors to Burslem next week are former Premier League staple Portsmouth.
It has been over a decade since top division football has been seen at Fratton Park, and more recently they have been competing in the third tier.
Pompey are currently sitting in third position in Sky Bet League One after an unbeaten start in the league this campaign, but they did see defeat for the first time this season on Tuesday, losing 3-2 in the Carabao Cup second round to Newport County.
The Valiants’ are coming into this fixture in high spirits after securing their first away win of the season last Saturday, with a 2-0 win against Staffordshire rivals Burton Albion.
In this article, we take a look into the Hampshire side and what we can expect from them at the weekend.
ONE TO WATCH: Colby Bishop
New to the south coast, Colby Bishop has hit the ground running leading the frontline at Pompey, scoring five goals in his first six matches at the club.
Bishop’s career has skyrocketed in recent years after many years of playing non-league football earlier in his playing days.
The number nine started his career in his hometown of Nottingham with Notts County, spending many years in their youth setup, before featuring in a handful of games in the first team.
After a short loan at Gloucester City in the 15-16 season, Bishop settled into non-league football for a few years, playing for the likes of Worcester City, Boston United, and Leamington.
However, in 2019 the youthful striker got his big break, moving to League One to sign for Lancashire side Accrington Stanley.
Bishop impressed in the north-west, scoring over 30 goals in his three seasons at Stanley, giving the forward many admirers across the country.
One of those admirers was Championship side Blackpool, who came close to signing the 25-year-old before Pompey swooped in to get their man this summer.
THE MAN AT THE HELM: Danny Cowley
The man in the dugout down at Fratton Park, Danny Cowley, was appointed as Pompey head coach in March 2021, with his brother Nicky alongside him as assistant.
The former Lincoln boss started his footballing journey as a player, but sadly for Cowley, his career was ended by injury as a late teenager in 2007.
Cowley became well known during his stint at Lincoln City for helping lead the club to a Fa Cup quarter-final in 2017, making the Imps the first non-league club to achieve the feat.
At every club he has coached, he has been joined by his brother Nicky, with the two being affectionately known as ‘the Cowley brothers'.
After the successful stint in Lincolnshire, the 43-year-old moved to Yorkshire to takeover then relegated Premier League side Huddersfield Town.
Unfortunately, things did not work out as planned up North for Cowley, leaving after one season at the club despite leading the club to Championship survival in tough circumstances.
Next for the young coach was the move to the south coast, guiding the club to a 10th place finish last season.
However, despite his time at the club having gone swimmingly so far, this campaign he will be hoping to guide his team back up to the second tier after many years away.
STADIUM: Fratton Park
Pompey’s home is well known to many a fan around the country.
Famous for creating a fabulous atmosphere, Fratton Park has always been Portsmouth’s home, being the only stadium that the south-coast side have ever called their ground.
Built in 1899, the stadium can currently hold a capacity of 20,620 after some developments made in the last 20 years, including some refurbishments made over the summer.
We know that despite it being a long journey, you Valiants’ will be excited to travel down to Fratton Park, but for now it will be Vale Park that plays centre stage when Pompey come to town on Saturday.
HEAD-TO-HEAD LAST FIVE:
Vale wins: 2
Portsmouth wins: 2
This fixture is not a regular one, so it will be exciting to see what unfolds at the weekend when the sides meet for the first time since April 2000, a fixture Vale won 2-0 in Burslem.
The head-to-head is very close between the sides when they have met, with both having won two a piece out of the last five, let’s hope Darrell Clarke’s side can come out on top this Saturday.