Vale return to League One action on Friday night after nearly two weeks, and we will be taking on none other than the league leaders, Plymouth Argyle, in Devon.
This weekend’s hosts are currently top of the table on 43 points, two points clear of Ipswich Town, whilst Vale are currently sitting mid-table in 10th place on 26 points.
Here is some interesting pre-match reading before the fascinating clash against Argyle this weekend.
The view from Darrell Clarke:
On the prospect of facing Plymouth, Darrell Clarke said: “The players have had a recharge but also plenty of work on the training pitch when needed as well, so getting the balance of the two is key and hopefully we can show that in our performance on Friday.
“We want to test ourselves against the best team in the league so far; Plymouth are a big club; a well-supported club and the manager has done an excellent job.
“We go there confident, ready to take on the challenge.”
Opposition Boss’ thoughts
“They [Vale] had a brilliant start coming up from League Two, and [are] settling straight in,” said Steven Schumacher
“They have carried on their momentum that they had built last year; they cross a lot of balls into the box and get bodies in there.
“They are a hard team to play against, they get after you and pressure which is tricky, they are not going to stand and let us have it all our own way.”
FA Cup third round, Home Park, Tuesday 14th January 2014: Plymouth Argyle 2-3 Port Vale
Just under nine years ago, Vale travelled down to Devon for FA cup third round action, and they gave the travelling Valiants an unforgettable experience.
Second-half goals from Ben Williamson, and Jennison Myrie-Williams, pulled Vale back from 2-1 down before Chris Neal saved a late Reuben Reid spot kick to guarantee the Valiants' passage through to the fourth round.
The Pilgrims took the lead just 90 seconds into the match through Andres Gurrieri after he headed a cross that was not dealt with by the Vale defence.
A young Jordan Hugill brought the visitors level on the half-hour mark through a brilliant strike from the edge of the area after a brilliant one-two with Louis Dodds.
However, only six minutes later, Plymouth were back in front, and this time it was former Premier League midfielder, Conor Hourihane, who now plays for Derby County, who netted for Argyle.
18 minutes after the interval, Vale were level again, and it was the substitute Williamson, who came on for Hugill, that fired into the back of the net with a brilliant header from a Myrie-Williams cross.
Vale’s winger then turned from provider to scorer to net the winning goal, smashing home a Tom Pope pass to send the away end crazy.
The action was not done there though, and the Valiants’ faithful had to hold their breath after Chris Lines was sent off for hacking down Hourihane in the area.
Luckily for us, Neal produced a fabulous stop from Reid’s penalty to send Vale through, and unfortunately, the next round is where our journey in the cup would end in that season as we fell to a 3-1 defeat at Vale Park to Brighton and Hove Albion.
Last Time Out (League):
Sky Bet League One, The Pirelli Stadium, Saturday 19th November 2022: Burton Albion 2-2 Plymouth Argyle
Former Crystal Palace and Watford centre back, Adrian Mariappa, netted an equaliser in the eleventh hour to earn the Brewers a 2-2 draw, and ensure Plymouth had to settle with just a point.
The 36-year-old defender’s header came in the 97th minute after Ryan Hardie and Bali Mumba had overturned Bobby Kamwa’s first-half strike to put Plymouth minutes from victory.
Burton netted first in this enthralling encounter when Kamwa fired home on his full debut after Joe Dodoo and the eventual goal scorer had already seen shots blocked.
The league leaders showed their quality after the break, and they levelled from the spot through Hardie after Niall Ennis was fouled by Tom Hamer in the area.
Ennis was then involved once again as the visitors took the lead with just over 15 minutes to go, sliding through Mumba who smashed home an effort into the top corner.
However, in the dying moments, Mariappa levelled for the hosts when he headed home from close range.
Pilgrims’ Team news:
Danny Mayor is back in contention for the Pilgrims after a spell on the sidelines, however, Friday comes too soon for Dan Scarr.
Plymouth should have a strong squad to choose from, with no more expected absentees.
31/10/22: Plymouth Argyle 4-2 Exeter City, Sky Bet League One
05/11/22: Grimsby Town 5-1 Plymouth Argyle, FA Cup first round
12/11/22: Lincoln City 1-1 Plymouth Argyle, Sky Bet League One
19/11/22: Burton Albion 2-2 Plymouth Argyle, Sky Bet League One
22/11/22: Plymouth Argyle 3-2 Charlton Athletic, Papa Johns Trophy R32