Saturday see’s the FA Cup first round return to Vale Park, with the Valiants set the challenge of facing Exeter City.
Both sides have taken to League One life well as Vale sit in 10th place, whilst the Grecians are just one place lower in 11th.
Before the sides lock horns on Saturday, here is some interesting pre-match reading to get you in the mood.
The view from Darrell Clarke:
“From my perspective, when I was growing up [the FA Cup] was about the family being around, watching the final,” said Darrell Clarke.
“It is always a big occasion; I love the FA Cup; it is probably the biggest cup competition in the world.
“It gives non-league clubs the opportunity to get some well-earned revenue and publicity against the big boys.
“Sometimes it is a distraction away from the league but when you’re in a good place in the league – which I think we are – going into a cup game, you can go into it full of confidence.”
Opposition’s Boss thoughts:
Gary Caldwell said: "It's a special occasion that always has a different feel to the League. Everyone is going on a journey, and you have to try and get to the next round. That can lead to magical cup runs and cup upsets.
"We've got a difficult game; we understand that, and we have to go and try to win and put ourselves in the next round.”
The story of last season’s FA Cup:
Port Vale 5-1 Accrington Stanley, Vale Park, FA Cup First Round, Saturday 6th November 2021
Vale got their last FA Cup campaign off to a flyer when they put five past Accrington Stanley to progress to the second round of the competition.
A superb hat-trick from James Wilson, Lewis Cass’ first senior goal, and a stoppage-time finish from George Lloyd did the job for the Valiants.
Stanley did score a consolation goal through Ethan Hamilton, but they also finished the game with ten men when Colby Bishop was sent his marching orders for violent conduct.
Burton Albion 1-2 Port Vale, Pirelli Stadium, FA Cup Second Round, Saturday 4th December 2021
Dennis Politic stole the show with a brace off the bench to secure a comeback win for the Valiants against Burton Albion and guide them into the third round of the cup.
The Romanian forward came on for Vale in the 74th minute with his side 1-0 down after Ryan Leak’s first-half header had given the home side the advantage.
However, our superstar substitute scored two goals in four minutes to turn the tie around and send the Vale faithful crazy in the away end.
Port Vale 1-4 Brentford, Vale Park, FA Cup Three Round, Saturday 8th January 2022
Brentford brought Vale’s FA Cup run to an end in the third round of the competition, with Bryan Mbuemo bagging a second-half hattrick off the bench for the Bees.
The Premier League side showed their quality at Vale Park and went 2-0 up after goals from Marcus Forss, and substitute Mbuemo.
Vale did get back into the contest when Kian Harratt headed home in the 69th minute, however, the London side’s number 19 netted twice more, including a penalty, to complete his hat trick and send them through to the fourth round.
The Grecians Storyline:
Bradford City 1-1 Exeter City, University of Bradford Stadium, FA Cup First Round, Saturday 6th November 2021
Exeter showed their powers of recovery late on to ensure they forced a replay in the first round of the FA Cup last campaign.
Sam Nombe scored in the 88th minute to break the hearts of the Bradford fans after Theo Robinson had put the hosts in front.
The Bantams were dominant throughout the match but had to settle for the replay at St James Park three weeks later.
Exeter City 2-1 Bradford City, St James Park, FA Cup First Round Replay, Tuesday 30th November 2021
The Grecians came from a goal down to secure victory in their replayed FA Cup first-round replay.
After mistakenly making six substitutions in the original replay, Exeter were forced to host the replay once again.
Tim Dieng and George Ray completed the second-half turnaround for the hosts after Lee Angol had struck to give the Bantams the lead early on.
Cambridge United 2-1 Exeter City, Abbey Stadium, FA Cup Second Round, Saturday 4th December 2021
Harvey Knibbs netted an 88th-minute winner for Cambridge United to send the Grecians crashing out of the competition in controversial circumstances.
Knibbs originally saw his winner ruled out before the U’s players protested and saw the decision overturned in their favour.
Sam Nombe had initially given the visitors the lead after just 10 minutes, however, Adam May equalised just 13 minutes later, before Knibbs sent Cambridge into the third round.
15/10/22: Exeter City 2-4 Oxford United, Sky Bet League One
18/10/22: Forest Green Rovers 4-1 Exeter City, Papa Johns Trophy
22/10/22: Exeter City 2-1 Fleetwood Town, Sky Bet League One
25/10/22: Derby County 0-0 Exeter City, Sky Bet League One
31/10/22: Plymouth Argyle 4-2 Exeter City, Sky Bet League One