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Match Previews

Match Preview | Lincoln City vs Port Vale

23 February 2024

Match Previews

Match Preview | Lincoln City vs Port Vale

23 February 2024

Vale Park welcomes Darren Moore for his first home fixture as Port Vale manager on Saturday as we take on Lincoln City.

The Valiants will be looking to bounce back at Vale Park after defeat in midweek against Reading.

Despite a resolute performance, Vale were finally undone in the 76th minute when Lewis Wing arrowed a strike from the edge of the box into the bottom corner. Harvey Knibbs then secured the points for the Royals in the 83rd minute when he fired home from close range to make the scores 2-0.

Gaffer’s Thoughts:

After back-to-back away games to begin his tenure as Vale manager, Darren Moore is looking forward to being in the home dugout for the first time on Saturday:

“I have been here as a visiting player and a visiting manager and I know what this place can be like, an intimidating place when it is in full voice.”

“So, it will be a proud moment for me on Saturday to be standing in front of the home support. My message to the supporters is show me what Vale can be like in full voice. I want to feel it and see it. The players want to feel it and see it and I know you have the capabilities to do it because you have been consistent all season. Sing your hearts out.”

“In the last home game, I had someone sitting in the crowd and he spoke about the tremendous positive atmosphere. So, I am really looking forward to seeing it as I stand on that touchline on Saturday.”

The Opposition

Saturday’s opposition Lincoln City currently sit in 10th place in Sky Bet League One and they are enjoying a seven-game unbeaten run which includes four draws and three wins.

The Imps come into the game off the back of a 1-0 victory at home to Exeter City. Luton Town loanee Joe Taylor scored the only goal of the game in the 67th minute when he latched onto Teddy Bishop’s through ball before calmly dinking the onrushing keeper.

Player to watch – Lasse Sorensen

The former Stoke City youth player joined Lincoln City in 2021 for an undisclosed fee. He has since made 123 appearances for The Imps. The Danish midfielder has become a fan favourite at the LNER Stadium. His energy and tenacity have helped him become a mainstay in the Lincoln side. So far this season he has found the net three times and assisted four goals from the right side of midfield.

Another player to keep an eye out for is Teddy Bishop, he has struggled with injuries in the past but looks to be finding his feet. Fifteen of his 25 appearances have been from the bench but he has still managed to make an impact with three goals and two assists so far this season. This includes an assist in his last outing against Exeter City.

Who’s in Charge?

Michael Skubala was appointed as manager of the Imps in November 2023 after leaving Leeds United. This is Skubala’s first stint as manager in a career where he has predominantly been a coach. The 41 year-old joined Lincoln City from Leeds United after eighteen months at Elland Road.

In that time, he was U21’s head coach before being appointed interim head coach of Leeds United first team after Jesse Marsch was sacked in February 2023. Skubala’s side drew 2-2 with Manchester United in his first game in the hot seat.

So far, Skubala has managed 18 Lincoln games and they have won five, drawn seven and lost six.

Michael Skubala spoke to the press about Saturday’s fixture and here is what he had to say:

“We know they are not on the best of runs but we weren’t on the best of runs not so long ago and there’s definitely a manager bounce with the new manager coming in. They have played two different systems, a back three against Cheltenham and then a back four against Reading. I was there at Reading on Tuesday night and I thought they played really well and pressed more aggressively.”

“There’s definitely a way that he’s (Darren Moore) is trying to change the team and we know it’s going to be a tough game with the pitch and size of their pitch and they are a bit better at home, but we’ve just got to focus on what we do”

Last Time We Met 

Lincoln City 1-1 Port Vale, Saturday 11th November 2023.

Vale had to settle for a point in the reverse fixture at the LNER Stadium earlier in the season after the hosts levelled the scores in the 94th minute.

The Valiants took the lead in the 34th minute when Ben Garrity audaciously flicked home Ethan Chislett’s cross from the right side. Two minutes after the break Vale were reduced to ten men when Ollie Arblaster was sent off after picking up two bookings. Six minutes later the hosts also had a man sent off when Paudie O’Connor was shown a red card after an off the ball incident with Uche Ikpeazu.

In the 94th minute, Lincoln City salvaged a point after former Valiant Olamide Shodipo got on the end of a cross to poke home and level the scores.

The Officials 

James Bell will take charge of tomorrow's match against Peterborough United.

Alex Gray and Karl Buckley will be assisting him whilst Lee Freeman will be on hand as fourth official.

Bell has mostly refereed Championship fixtures this season with 13 of his 18 games being in the second tier of English football. He has also taken charge of a duo of League One and Two fixtures whilst also delving into the Women’s Super League where he was the man in the middle for Tottenham Hotspurs' 2-1 defeat against Chelsea Women in October.

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