The Valiants won’t have to travel far this weekend as we face off with in form Shrewsbury Town at Montgomery Waters Meadow on Saturday.
Shrewsbury have been in fine form of late, winning their last five fixtures to launch them up the league table to 9th on 44 points.
The latest of their impressive winning run was a 1-0 victory away at Oxford United last Saturday.
Unfortunately, the Valiants have not been in such good form and will be looking to get back to winning ways against Salop.
Vale’s last fixture saw the points shared against Accrington Stanley on Tuesday, with David Worrall’s 57th-minute strike ensuring we grabbed a point.
Saturday’s clash is sure to be a tense one, and here is what you need to know about our hosts before all eyes turn to Montgomery Waters Meadow this weekend.
ONE TO WATCH: Luke Leahy
The Shrews captain will be one to keep an eye out for on Saturday, after an impressive first season and a half with Town, he has the potential to run the show from the middle of the park.
Last season saw Leahy pick up Salop’s Supporters' Player of the Season award for his efforts, with the current skipper scoring nine goals and assisting seven times in over 50 appearances.
Leahy made his name up in Scotland during a five-year spell at Falkirk, where he predominantly played at left-back in his 158 appearances for the club.
The 29-year-old then returned to England to have stints at Walsall and Bristol Rovers before making the move to Shropshire in the summer of 2021.
In the season previous to joining Salop, Leahy had an excellent campaign for the Gas, notching 10 goals from left-back - as well as registering five assists.
After a very successful 2021/22 season, Leahy was made club captain for the 2022/23 season.
Salop’s number 3 can play in both midfield and as an attacking left-back and has netted a total of five goals so far this campaign, alongside providing two assists.
Leahy has been in great form as of late, playing a major part in Salop’s five-match winning run which has led to him winning Sky Bet League One’s Player of the Month for January 2023.
THE MAN AT THE HELM: Steve Cotterill
Shrewsbury’s man in the dugout is the extremely experienced Steve Cotterill, who joined the Shrews in 2020 after many jobs in the football league.
The 58-year-old did play professional football for the likes of Wimbledon, Brighton and Hove Albion, and AFC Bournemouth, but bad knee injuries meant he had to cut his playing days short after only a decade.
Cotterill then moved into coaching, and in 1997 he took over his hometown club Cheltenham Town whilst they were still in non-league.
But, after two promotions during his 5-year tenure, he secured football league status for the Robins.
Stints at Stoke City, Burnley, Notts County, Portsmouth, and Nottingham Forest followed before he took over at Bristol City in 2013.
In only his second season in charge at Ashton Gate, Cotterill guided City to the Championship with a club record of 99 points as they romped to the League One title.
Then a short period at Birmingham City came and went before Cotterill joined Salop in November 2020.
During his time in Shropshire Cotterill had a health scare, when during early 2021 Covid complications meant the Shrews’ boss was in intensive care.
After two months in the hospital thankfully Cotterill returned in good health and has continued his job in Shropshire after the club supported him immensely during his time away.
Now still at the helm for Salop, Cotterill has the Shrews in fantastic form, but Darrell Clarke will be looking to stop them in their tracks this weekend.
STADIUM: Montgomery Waters Meadow
Montgomery Waters Meadow was completed in 2007 and it replaced their former ground, Gay Meadow, which had stood as Salop’s ground since 1910.
Also known as New Meadow, the stadium has a capacity of over 9,000, with its away stand called DM Recruitment Stand - North stand – being able to hold around 1,700 fans.
HEAD-TO-HEAD LAST FIVE:
Vale wins: 4
Shrewsbury wins: 1
In recent times the Valiants have enjoyed some brilliant wins against Salop, with the Valiants winning our last four matches against the Shrews.
Back in September, we beat Saturday’s opponents twice in a matter of days, with the league fixture ending in a 2-1 victory, and our Papa Johns Trophy clash, a thumping 4-0 win.