Saturday Vale Park will play host to Vale’s clash with Sheffield Wednesday as the two sides meet for the first time since the Valiants famous 2-0 win in 2009.
The visitors were expected to be fighting near the top this season, and so far, they are delivering on that assumption as they currently sit fourth in Sky Bet League One.
Wednesday’s strong start to the season continued last Saturday with a 3-1 win over last year's play-off finalists, Wycombe Wanderers.
However, Vale will be looking to bounce back against the Owls after a 3-0 defeat down in Cambridgeshire to Peterborough United.
Saturday’s clash is sure to be an exciting one, with the atmosphere set to be electric, so before the fixture takes place, here is what you need to know about the Owls.
ONE TO WATCH: Barry Bannan
Sheffield Wednesday’s Scottish maestro in the middle is beloved by the Owls faithful, and he will certainly be one to keep an eye out for on Saturday afternoon.
Bannan was made the captain at Wednesday in the 2020/21 season, whilst he is currently playing in his 8th season in South Yorkshire.
The Scottish international started his career in the Midlands with Premier League side Aston Villa, after some years with his boyhood club Celtic in their academy.
During a five-year period with the Villains, Bannan played a total of 89 times, but the midfielder was also loaned out three times to Derby County, Blackpool, and Leeds United respectively.
In 2013, the Owls captain signed for Villa’s Premier League compatriots Crystal Palace, where he joined up with Ian Holloway with whom he also played under at Blackpool.
Two years and one loan with Bolton Wanderers then followed before the playmaker made the move up north to join up with Wednesday.
South Yorkshire is where the 32-year-old has really flourished, making over 250 appearances for the Owls with over 75 goal involvements in that time.
Last season was perhaps Bannan’s most productive as the midfielder bagged Sheffield Wednesdays Player of the Season award after he scored nine times and bagged 12 assists in 49 appearances.
The Scotsman has started this campaign in a similar fashion with two goals and three assists so far, including a goal in the Owls last match, a 3-1 win vs Wycombe Wanderers.
Darrell Clarke will be hoping his side can nullify Bannan, which will in turn limit this weekend’s visitor’s creativity.
THE MAN AT THE HELM: Darren Moore
In March 2021, Darren Moore was announced as Wednesday’s manager, with the 48-year-old making the short move from fellow Yorkshire side Doncaster Rovers.
Moore has an impressive CV in the game, with the Owls boss making over 650 total career appearances as a centre-back before his move into management.
During his playing days, the man from Birmingham played for the likes of Bradford City, Portsmouth, West Bromwich Albion, Derby County, and Barnsley, amongst a smattering of other teams.
Whilst Moore had a brilliant club career, the former defender also played in the international game, featuring twice for Jamaica.
The 48-year-old moved into management in April 2018, and his first job was a tough one, as he was tasked with trying to save West Brom from Relegation, becoming the first Jamaican manager in Premier League History.
Unfortunately for Moore, he couldn’t quite perform the miracle, but he majorly impressed during that final month of the season, winning the Premier League Manager of the Month for April.
Despite not managing to keep the Baggies up, Moore managed the midlands side to an impressive comeback 2-2 draw with Liverpool, an incredible 1-0 away win at Manchester United, and an enthralling last-minute win against Tottenham Hotspur.
A tough season then followed with the Baggies, and Moore was sacked in March 2019, but in the summer of the same year, the coach made a return to the dugout with Doncaster Rovers.
During his time with Donny, the Yorkshire side narrowly missed out on Play-Off qualification, and with Rovers sitting in the play-off positions in March of his second season at the club, Moore left for the Owls.
Wednesday’s boss was tasked with keeping the side from Hillsborough in the Championship, but they just missed out and were relegated down to the third tier.
In his first full season, the 48-year-old would lead the Owls to the play-offs, but they would fall short to eventual winners Sunderland in the semi-final after a late Patrick Roberts strike.
After a disappointing defeat in the play-offs, Moore will be happy with the fast start Wednesday have made to this season as he looks to get them back up to the Championship, but Clarke will be hoping to halt their progress on Saturday.
STADIUM: Hillsborough Stadium
One of the most well-known stadiums in English football, Hillsborough has been the home of Sheffield Wednesday since it was opened in 1899.
The ground has been granted permission to expand to over 44,000, with the capacity currently sitting at 39,732, but due to safety reasons, it is capped at 34,854.
Vale haven’t visited the famous ground since 2005, however, the Valiants will get to play there once again in December, but before then all eyes are focused on Saturday’s home fixture with the Owls.
HEAD-TO-HEAD LAST FIVE:
Vale wins: 3
Wednesday wins: 2
It is the side from Burslem that has the better of the recent record between the two teams, with the Valiants winning three of the last five matches.
Two of those wins took place at Vale Park, and the hope is that Vale can continue that record on Saturday.