After Saturday’s postponement of our fixture with Morecambe, Vale return to action at Vale Park on Tuesday night as they face Derby County
The Derbyshire side have been in fine form of late and currently sit in 4th position in the Sky Bet League One table, after a run of 18 matches unbeaten in all competitions.
Vale have also enjoyed a strong season so far, and are 13th in the table with a number of games in hand.
The sides haven’t faced each other in Burslem since 1996, but as the teams get ready to face off on Tuesday night, here is some interesting pre-match reading.
Opposition Coach's thoughts:
Derby County’s assistant Head Coach, Richie Barker, said: “Port Vale are very organised, and everyone knows their role.
“They are very aggressive from set-pieces and Vale Park is a difficult place and a relatively local game so a good crowd will be there from our point of view."
Fixture Flashback/Reverse Fixture:
Sky Bet League One, Pride Park, Saturday 8th October 2022: Derby County 1-2 Port Vale
Back in October, Darrell Clarke’s Valiants shocked the Rams when they produced a brilliant second-half turnaround to defeat the 10-man side in a tasty encounter at Pride Park.
Both Ellis Harrison and James Wilson netted after the break to secure the three points in Derbyshire after James Collins had opened the scoring for the hosts.
Derby’s in-form striker gave County the lead after 5 minutes when a blistering counterattack led to Tom Barkhuizen crossing for the number nine to half-volley into the back of the net.
After waiting 73 games for a penalty, the Valiants were awarded two at Pride Park, and top scorer Harrison made no mistake with the second one, smashing it in to bring the Vale level after 55 minutes.
Tensions started to flare after the equaliser, and the match reached a boiling point when Derby’s early hero Collins was sent his marching orders after a reaction to a Nathan Smith challenge.
Not long after the red card, Vale got their second with just 25 minutes left to play, with Wilson finishing a sweeping counterattack to score his first goal of the season to send the packed-out vale away end into raptures.
The opening minutes of the match were played at high intensity, and moments after County’s opener they nearly grabbed a second, but Jack Stevens produced a good stop to foil Nathaniel Mendez-Laing after he gave himself space in the area.
After so long without a penalty, the Valiants finally got one after Dan Jones was brought down in the area, but unfortunately for the visitors, Tom Conlon dragged his spot kick wide.
Just three minutes later the hosts then came close again, this time through Lewis Dobbin whose effort from inside the box hit the side netting, which tricked the stadium into thinking the rams had a second.
As half-time approached, it took a goal-line clearance to keep the score a 1-0, with Nathan Smith hooking the ball off the line after it seemed the hosts would grab their second.
Chances kept coming early in the second period for the Rams, but they couldn’t quite grab their second with their goal scorer, Collins, not being able to test the keeper with a header.
As the clock was ticking, Vale searched for a third to kill the game with Garrity the next to have an effort for the visitors, however, his long-range volley dipped just over the bar.
In stoppage time substitute Mipo Odubeko had a great chance to finish the game for the Vale, but unfortunately, he couldn’t divert Massey’s shot into the back of the net.
It didn't matter though as the Vale held on through six minutes of stoppage time to complete a memorable victory in Derbyshire, their first away to the Rams since 1923.
Derby County | Wildsmith, Hourihane, Chester, Cashin, Barkhuizen, Bird (82’ Sibley), Collins, Mendez-Laing, Dobbin (60’ Osula), Stearman (75’ Roberts), Knight
Unused Subs | Loach, Forsyth, Thompson, Rooney
Port Vale | Stevens, Jones, Walker (46’ Politic), Smith, Garrity, Wilson (87’ Odubeko), Conlon, Forrester, Massey, Harrison, McCarron (58’ Hall)
Unused Subs | Stone, Worrall, Pett, Butterworth
Attendance | 28,706 (2,693 Valiants)
Last Time Out (League):
Sky Bet League One, Pride Park, Saturday 21st January 2023: Derby County 2-1 Bolton Wanderers
Derby extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to 18 games last Saturday as Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Conor Hourihane netted for the Rams to secure a 2-1 over Bolton Wanderers.
It took the hosts just 16 minutes to find the net, and give their capacity crowd something to cheer about when Mendez-Laing tapped home the ball under pressure from Tom Barkhuizen’s cross.
Hourihane doubled the Rams' lead with just under 20 minutes to go, powering home a strong strike after Their first goalscorer, and Barkhuizen combined to set him up.
Bolton have never won at Pride Park and today would not be their day despite substitute Kieran Sadlier's scoring a late consolation for the Trotters.
The match pulled in a crowd of over 30,000 as the two play-off challenging sides went head-to-head, and Derby proved their quality in the end, creating multiple chances throughout the match.
Rams Team News:
Derby’s star defender Eiran Cashin is a doubt for the fixture at Vale Park after missing out at the weekend due to injury.
Louie Sibley and James Chester are also fighting to be available but may also mis out due to previous injuries sustained.
30/12/22: Derby County 1-0 Cambridge United, Sky Bet League One
02/01/23: Derby County 4-0 Accrington Stanley, Sky Bet League One
08/01/23: Derby County 3-0 Barnsley, FA Cup Third Round
14/01/23: Cheltenham Town 2-3 Derby County, Sky Bet League One
21/01/23: Derby County 2-1 Bolton Wanderers, Sky Bet League One