League One action returns to Vale Park this weekend with Charlton Athletic travelling up from London to face the Valiants.
The Addicks have had an up-and-down season so far, and after some strong results in recent weeks, they sit 11th in the table.
Charlton will come into this fixture in Burslem off the back of an eventful 3-3 draw to our Staffordshire rivals, Burton Albion.
However, Vale’s last match in the division was a tough 4-0 loss away at Oxford United, and we will be looking to return to winning ways on Saturday.
It’s sure to be a brilliant clash this weekend, and before we get to matchday, here is what you need to know about the Addicks.
ONE TO WATCH: Jesurun Rak-Sayi
The Addicks star asset currently, and player to look for on Saturday, is Jesurun Rak-Sayi, who is on loan from Premier League side Crystal Palace.
The 20-year-old joined Charlton on a season-long loan from the eagles in July of this year, and he can play at the top of the pitch, or out wide on the right.
Rak-Sayi started his youth career at Chelsea before making the big move to south London in 2019.
He made his professional debut for the Eagles as a substitute against his former side, but unfortunately, he came out on the losing side.
Charlton are the first side the young forward has moved on loan to, and so far, he is impressing at the League One outfit, netting five times, and assisting on three occasions in the 17 matches he has played for the club.
Vale will have their hands full with the attacking starlet, but Darrell Clarke will be keen that they keep the 20-year-old quiet as we search for all three points on Saturday.
THE MAN AT THE HELM: Ben Garner
New to the dugout at Charlton this season, Ben Garner will be leading out the Addicks this weekend after signing a three-year deal with them in June 2022.
Garner will be a familiar face to the Valiants after he managed Swindon Town last season, the side that Vale famously beat on penalties in last year’s play-off semi-finals, before securing promotion at Wembley later the same month.
The 42-year-old started his coaching career at Crystal Palace in 2005, where he spent 10 years in various different roles, including three years as a first-team coach.
Stints as a coach at West Bromwich Albion and ATK then followed before he made the leap into management in 2019 with Bristol Rovers.
The Kent-born manager spent 11 months at the Rovers helm, leaving the post in November 2020.
Then, in the summer of 2021, Garner was appointed as Head Coach at Swindon Town, where, as we all know, he guided them to the playoffs.
Garner could not quite guide the Robins to play-off glory, but his exploits in Wiltshire earned him many admirers, including Charlton.
The Addicks got their man just three weeks after Swindon’s tie with Vale, and we are all hoping Vale can produce another display like they did on 19th May, to defeat another Garner-led side.
STADIUM: The Valley
One of the biggest stadiums in the division, the Valley has been the home of Charlton Athletic since its opening in 1919.
The famous ground has seen many significant renovations over the years, and it can now hold over a whopping 27,000 fans.
Vale’s last trip of the season will be down in London against the Addicks, but for now, both sides will be focused on the fixture at Vale Park this Saturday.
HEAD-TO-HEAD LAST FIVE:
Vale wins: 0
Charlton wins: 2
Our recent record against the Londoners does not do good reading, however, records are there to be broken.
The last match between the two sides was in 2016, as Charlton defeated us 2-0 at the Valley, and that game was the last time both sides were in League One at the same time, until now.