On Saturday League One football returns to Burslem after five years, in this article we take a look at each of our opponents this season to see what we can expect over the next 46 games.
LAST SEASON: 12th
TOP SCORER (All Comps): Colby Bishop (15)
STADIUM: Wham Stadium
Entering their fifth campaign in the league, off the back of a comfortable season last year safely finishing in mid-table, the Owd Reds will be looking to push on in the coming campaign.
Vale will be fond of the sight of Stanley after the incredible 5-1 home win against the Lancashire side in last years Fa Cup.
In our last five meetings it is Accrington who come out on top with three victories to our two, and we will be hoping to overturn that this season.
LAST SEASON: 24th (Championship)
TOP SCORER (All Comps): Carlton Morris (9)
Barnsley return to League One after a season to forget last year as they were relegated in last position from the Championship.
After losing some key players this summer, including their strike force of Cauley Woodrow and Carlton Morris both to Luton Town, and with Michael Duff coming in as Manager the upcoming season will be a rebuild for the Reds.
Vale and Barnsley have had some close contests in recent years, with both teams winning two apiece and also producing one draw in their last five meetings.
Their most recent fixture resulted in a 1-0 victory to the Yorkshire side back in 2016 at Vale Park.
LAST SEASON: 9th
TOP SCORER (All Comps): Oladapo Afolayan (15)
STADIUM: The University of Bolton Stadium
One of the more historical clubs in the league, Wanderers return for their second season in League One after being promoted in 2021. Ian Evatt’s men had a fantastic finish to their last campaign, winning 14 of their last 22 matches, and they have strengthened their squad with the likes of Liverpool youngster Conor Bradley on loan as they hope to carry on that form at the start of this season. The Valiants will be looking to improve their record against the Greater Manchester side, only coming out on top once out have the last five meetings with them which was a 6-3 away win in December 2020.
LAST SEASON: 3rd (League Two)
TOP SCORER (All Comps): Aaron Collins (18)
STADIUM: The Memorial Stadium
A fellow League Two promoted side, Bristol Rovers had a rollercoaster of campaign last year, getting promoted on a dramatic final day with a 7-0 victory at home to Scunthorpe, after being close to the relegation zone towards the earlier part of the season.
We had two close encounters with the south western side last term, coming out on top at the Mem in December, but unfortunately Rovers managed to get the win at Vale Park late on in the campaign.
In our last five meetings Vale have come out on top once, there has been one draw and Bristol have taken victory on three occasions.
LAST SEASON: 16th
TOP SCORER (All Comps): Daniel Jebbison (9)
STADIUM: The Pirelli Stadium
Led by Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, the Brewers endured a tough time last season, with an underwhelming league finish and short runs in both cup competitions.
As we all know Burton fell to the hands of Vale in the second round of the FA cup last year thanks to a brace from Dennis Politic.
Despite the Fa Cup victory, it is the team in yellow that have the better of the last five meetings, winning three times to our two.
LAST SEASON: 14th
TOP SCORER (All Comps): Sam Smith (21)
STADIUM: The Abbey Stadium
Cambridge is a city famous for its university, but its football club is also prominent, having a solid season back in League One.
The U’s also enjoyed a very good cup run, like we did, even bagging a win away at Newcastle United before being knocked out by Luton Town in the fourth round.
Vale faced the Abbey Stadium outfit a number of times in League Two, winning two of the last five meetings with Mark Bonner’s side winning the other three.
LAST SEASON: 13th
TOP SCORER (All Comps): Jaydon Stockley (20)
STADIUM: The Valley
The only London-based club in the league will be hoping to improve on their 13th placed finish last season.
With two managerial changes in the last year, new boss Ben Garner who will be familiar to the Vale faithful, will look to push Charlton up the table.
Fixtures between the Valiants and the Addicks are few and far between, but sadly it’s the Londoners with the better of the record winning two out of the last five games, whilst Vale grabbed a point on the other three occasions.
LAST SEASON: 15th
TOP SCORER (All Comps): Alfie May (26)
STADIUM: The Johnny-Rocks Stadium
The Gloucestershire side come into this season having lost their manager Duff to League One counterparts Barnsley.
The club overachieved with a 15th placed finish, with striker Alfie May helping the Robins to a comfortable position with 23 league goals.
This coming season brings some worry though after losing their boss and Leicester loanee Callum Wright.
The mighty Vale enjoy matchdays against Cheltenham, winning two of the last five meetings to the Robins’ one, with two draws.
LAST SEASON: 23rd (Championship)
TOP SCORER (All Comps): Tom Lawrence (11)
STADIUM: Pride Park
Where to start with Derby County…
After a whirlwind of a year with enormous points deductions, near liquidation and ownership struggle, the football displayed on the pitch last campaign was admirable.
A new era has started for the Rams with new boss Liam Rosenior bringing in plenty of fresh blood including the likes of David McGoldrick and Conor Hourihane.
Vale fans should be excited at the prospect of facing Derby, with the two teams having not met since 1996 which finished 1-1 in the equivalent of a Championship game.
LAST SEASON: 2nd (League Two)
TOP SCORER (All Comps): Matt Jay (16)
STADIUM: St. James Park
Exeter have come close to promotion many times over the years, finally managing to get up to League One after coming second last year.
The Grecians have managed to retain their key players and will be hoping they can fire them to safety in the coming season.
We have got the better of the southern side many a time in the last few years, with the most recent being a 1-0 win down in Devon on the last game of the regular season.
Vale have won four of their last five meetings with Exeter, with the other result being a stalemate in March.
LAST SEASON: 20th
TOP SCORER (All Comps): Gerard Garner (8)
STADIUM: Highbury Stadium
Our opening day opponents struggled in League One last term, finding it hard to score on a regular basis, and hopefully they don’t figure that out come 30th July.
The arrival of Scott Brown brings the unknown for the Cod Army, with this being his first experience of management in football after a long-playing career with Celtic before retiring at Aberdeen.
In the last five meetings between Vale and Fleetwood it’s the former that has come out on top winning two games to Fleetwood’s one, with the teams also playing out two draws.
Forest Green Rovers
LAST SEASON: 1st (League Two)
TOP SCORER (All Comps): Matty Stevens (27)
STADIUM: The Bolt New Lawn
Forest Green come into this campaign off the back of their best season in their history, gaining promotion to the third tier of English football for the first time through winning League Two.
A club who prides itself on being the greenest club in football will be looking to fire on all cylinders in unchartered territory.
Rob Edwards who coached them to glory has now fled to Watford, with new boss Ian Burchnall and his nine signings looking to replicate his success.
However, the Nailsworth based side do not enjoy the sight of Vale and will not be looking forward to facing us after having not won in their previous five fixtures against Darrell Clarke’s side.
Most notably we came away from Gloucestershire with a 2-0 win last season, let’s hope we can repeat those feats.
LAST SEASON: 11th
TOP SCORER (All Comps): Wes Burns (13)
STADIUM: Portman Road
Formerly Premier League and staple in the Championship, the recent decline of Ipswich sees them in their third consecutive season in the third tier.
However, spirits are high for the Tractor Boys as boss Kieran Mckenna has breathed life into the football club. After a poor start, they finished the campaign strongly and will be hoping to carry the form into the new season.
Like with Derby County, Vale have not faced Ipswich in over 20 years, and we will be aiming to improve upon our previous results against the East-Anglian side, having lost the last six meetings.
LAST SEASON: 17th
TOP SCORER (All Comps): Anthony Scully (15)
STADIUM: The LNER Stadium
After play-off final heartbreak in 2021, the Imps reacted to the loss poorly last season finishing a lowly 17th, struggling to replicate their previous successes.
Injuries really affected their last campaign, and with returning players plus new signings including Tashan Oakley-Boothe on loan from our fierce rivals, they will be looking to push on this year.
Vale last faced the Lincolnshire outfit in 2019, drawing 1-1 in the League Two clash, and in the four games previous Lincoln came out on top three times to Vale’s one.
Milton Keynes Dons
LAST SEASON: 3rd
TOP SCORER (All Comps): Scott Twine (20)
STADIUM: Stadium MK
MK Dons have lost their prize asset Scott Twine to Championship newcomers Burnley but will hoping returning Will Grigg and loanee Louie Barry will fill the void in their attack.
The Dons have strengthened in numbers as they aim to go one better than last year which saw them knocked out of the play-offs by Wycombe Wanderers.
We have a got the better of the Bedfordshire side in recent times winning two of the last five meetings, including a 1-0 FA Cup victory in Milton Keynes three years ago.
LAST SEASON: 19th
TOP SCORER (All Comps): Cole Stockton (26)
STADIUM: The Globe Arena
Morecambe’s first season in the third tier ended in survival, a massive achievement for the northern side.
An eventful season for the Shrimps saw them travel to London to face Tottenham Hotspur in the Fa Cup whilst battling hard in a stacked League One.
Now backed by Heavyweight Boxing legend Tyson Fury, and with Cole Stockton still leading the line, Morecambe will look to once again secure their position in the league this coming campaign.
Vale have had some tight encounters over the years with the Lancashire outfit with four of the last five encounters ending in a 1 goal winning margin. Sadly, it’s the Shrimps who just about come out on top, with three wins to two in recent meetings.
LAST SEASON: 18th
TOP SCORER (All Comps): Matty Taylor (22)
STADIUM: Kassam Stadium
Known for their unique stadium which has one stand missing, the yellows harshly missed out on the play-offs last campaign despite accruing 76 points.
United’s midfield maestro Cameron Brannagan was the shining light of Oxford’s season last year, with his highlight being the rare occasion where he scored four penalties in one match against Gillingham.
The Valiants should look forward to some tight encounters against the Oxfordshire side with the teams both winning two meetings a piece out of the last five matches.
LAST SEASON: 22nd (Championship)
TOP SCORER (All Comps): Jonson Clarke-Harris (12)
STADIUM: Weston Homes Stadium
A disastrous season back in the Championship saw the Posh fall straight back down into League One.
A small glimmer of light in the campaign for the Cambridgeshire outfit was being able to welcome Premier League Champions Manchester City to their patch, but unfortunately for them it ended in defeat.
Grant McCann will be looking forward to having his first full season at the helm, joining after Darren Ferguson’s departure last season.
Holding on to top scorer Jonson Clarke-Harris is a statement, and after adding to the side with youth, minimum expectations will be a play-off finish.
We haven’t had the chance to face the Posh since our days in League One five years ago, and the Vale faithful should be excited to face them once again after seeing our side get the better of Peterborough in two of the last five meetings, alongside two draws and one loss.
LAST SEASON: 7th
TOP SCORER (All Comps): Ryan Hardie (19)
STADIUM: Home Park
Vale fans, you’ll have to buckle up for some long away trips this season, with Plymouth being among the longest.
The Pilgrims fell short of a play-off place last term after occupying a top six spot for a long period of the season, a frustrating end to a long campaign.
It will be interesting to see after being drained emotionally last season if they challenge near the top once again.
Vale are massive and we know you will travel down in numbers to the countries southern coast, and if history repeats itself, you won’t be disappointed.
The Valiants have won 4 of the last 5 encounters with Argyle, with the other fixture a lively 2-2 draw, fingers crossed we continue that form against the southerners this coming season.
LAST SEASON: 10th
TOP SCORER (All Comps): Marcus Harness (12)
STADIUM: Fratton Park
With high expectations on Pompey, they delivered little, finishing in mid-table.
The south-coast side have a strong fanbase and a lot of history, but with their sixth season in League One looming, they’ll be hoping they can work their way back up to former glories.
There is a belief in Hampshire that this season they can mount a genuine challenge for promotion, with new signings like Marlon Pack hoping to make an impact.
Another long trip down to coast for the Vale faithful will be instore, but it will be the first time since 2000 that the sides will face each other.
Darrell Clarke will be looking to repeat what the side from 22 years ago achieved, by beating Pompey once again.
LAST SEASON: 4th
TOP SCORER (All Comps): Lee Gregory (17)
Another giant of the division, but this time it’s a team from the north. Sheffield Wednesday are arguably the favourites for promotion after making some strengthening an already good side that just missed out on promotion last time around.
Darren Moore is entering his second full season as the Yorkshire sides boss, known as one of the loveliest men in football, he is also one of the stronger managers in the League, and has built a good atmosphere at Hillsborough.
Vale’s last fixture against Wednesday was back in 2009, and once again the Valiants came out on top. Encounters against the Owls are very rare, so our team will be looking forward to challenging themselves against one of the biggest clubs in the division.
LAST SEASON: 18th
TOP SCORER (All Comps): Daniel Udoh (16)
STADIUM: Montgomery Waters Meadow
Valiants, you will have to get used to the sign of Salop as we play them in both the league and the Papa John’s Trophy this coming campaign.
The side from Shropshire will be disappointed with last season’s performance and since have started an overhaul to the squad.
Shrewsbury have added attacking threat alongside Daniel Udoh, who scored at Anfield in the Fa Cup at the start of the year, as they hope to add more goals to their arsenal.
Our two most recent meetings with Salop both ended in victory, and both were in the Papa John’s Trophy, will we see these results again this season? Let’s hope so.
LAST SEASON: 6th
TOP SCORER (All Comps): Sam Vokes (17)
STADIUM: Adams Park
Last but not least, its last year’s Play-Off finalists. The Chairboy’s came agonisingly close to promotion back to the Championship, but they fell at the final hurdle.
Club legend Adebayo Akinfenwa retired at the end of last season, so it will be their first without the big man, his loss may be felt, but Sam Vokes will be looking to step up with lots of goals once again.
Hopefully the gap between Vale and Wycombe will not be as large as the gap between Gareth Ainsworth’s collar and his first button, but going by recent results the games will be close, with both teams winning one apiece out of the last five, with three draws.
Plenty of memories and new experiences will be made this term, with trips varying from Morecambe to Plymouth, enjoy it Valiants.