After nine days away, Vale are back, and we take to the road this weekend to face the league leaders, Plymouth Argyle, on Friday night under the lights.
The Pilgrims have not dropped a point at Home Park this season, and they currently sit top of the table with 43 points.
However, Plymouth did drop points in their last match, drawing 2-2 away at Burton Albion after Adrian Mariappa scored a 97th-minute equaliser for the Brewers.
Meanwhile, Vale’s last fixture in the league was a brilliant 1-0 win over Charlton Athletic at Vale Park, with Danny Butterworth netting a beautiful solo goal to win it for the Valiants.
We currently sit 10th in League One after 19 games, and a win in Devon on Friday night could see us close in on the playoff positions.
Friday’s match will be an interesting clash, so here is what you need to know about the Pilgrims before we lock horns with them at the weekend.
ONE TO WATCH: Morgan Whittaker
Argyle have had many standout players in their impressive campaign so far, but perhaps the player that sticks his head above the rest is Morgan Whittaker, who joined on loan from Swansea City in August.
The 21-year-old started his career at fellow League One club Derby County before moving to south Wales in 2021 after impressing in the East Midlands.
Whittaker shone on his debut for the Swans, following in the footsteps of a certain Tom Pope by netting against Manchester City in the FA Cup.
In his 22 appearances for Swansea so far, the forward has netted five times, including a hattrick against his current side Argyle in the Carabao Cup last season.
Swansea decided it was best for Whittaker to go out on loan to further his development in January, and his first move was to Lincoln City.
After finishing last campaign with the Imps, Plymouth acquired the youngster on a season-long loan deal, and he has hit the ground running.
Whittaker has a total of 12 goal involvements so far this season having netted seven times and assisted five in all competitions, and if Darrell Clarke’s side want to halt the free-scoring Pilgrims, the 21-year-old is certainly a player we will need to stop.
THE MAN AT THE HELM: Steven Schumacher
In the dugout for Friday’s hosts is Steven Schumacher, who since taking over permanently in 2021 has had Plymouth playing fantastic football that has seen them push for promotion in both his campaigns.
The 38-year-old was a player before he started coaching, playing at a total of nine clubs in the professional game, including Bradford City and Fleetwood Town, across a 16-year playing career.
Born in Liverpool, Schumacher moved into coaching during the final season of his playing days at Southport, taking over as caretaker at the club briefly, whilst also doing some work at Everton.
Schumacher worked alongside Ryan Lowe at Bury during the 2018-19 season, and after getting them promoted to League One, moved down to Devon alongside Lowe in June 2019.
Lowe left Argyle in December 2021, which opened the door for Schumacher, who has not looked back.
The young coach guided the Pilgrims to a seventh-place finish in his first season, just missing out on the playoffs, and after an electrifying start to the current campaign, Argyle are flying high at the summit of League One.
STADIUM: Home Park
Argyle’s Stadium, Home Park, holds fond recent memories for the Valiants, with our side winning it’s last three trips to the ground.
Opened in 1893, Home Park has been the home of Plymouth since 1901, and it has a capacity of just under 18,000 fans.
The ground has changed many times over the last century, with work done to make it an all-seater stadium in 2007, and most recently in 2019, the Mayflower Grandstand went under redevelopment, with a new club shop being built next to it.
HEAD-TO-HEAD LAST FIVE:
Vale wins: 4
Plymouth wins: 0
Vale have enjoyed their recent meetings with the Pilgrims, winning four of the last five fixtures between the two teams.
The most recent match at Home Park was a third-round FA Cup tie in 2014, and it was the Valiants who came out on top, so let’s hope we can see a similar result on Friday night.