OVF looks ahead to Port Vale’s final game of the season with our quick guide to the opposition – Oxford United – who will be fielding an Argentinian International goalkeeper on Saturday…
Any importance to this game?
You bet, Oxford will be desperate for a win to try and sneak back into the play-off places.
Yes, this will be Geoff Horsfield’s final game as Vale coach as he set to leave the game to build [dreadful pun – OVF puns editor] his career in the construction industry. With all but four of the Vale squad set to be out of contract in the summer it could spell the end of several Vale playing careers as well.
This match threatened to be an even tenser affair after reports circulated that Perry Deakin, the much-maligned former Port Vale CEO had “joined Oxford.” But those reports turned out to be wrong on two fronts…
Firstly, Oxford fans were keen to point out that Deakin’s “appointment” was with the Firoka Group, the company that manages Oxford’s stadium, not the club itself (we had actually said that in our OVF report by the way). And secondly, a few days after the reports, the Firoka Group denied the appointment had been made anyway.
So Perry remains unemployed… for now…
Last time we met?
Oxford triumphed 2-1 back in October during a game in which Marc Richards scored and then missed a penalty.
The Valiants have eight wins, Oxford have eleven wins and there have been seven draws. However, Vale Park is a relatively happy hunting ground for United who have won three of their ten league visits to Burslem.
Man in charge?
Chris Wilder has been in charge since 2008 and has won 84 games, lost 48 and drawn 47. He was previously in charge at Halifax.
Martin Foyle (pictured) turned 49 years old this week. The striker was a then club record £375,000 signing from Oxford in 1991 and finished his Vale playing career in 2000 as the club’s top post-war scorer (107 goals). Foyle moved onto the Vale Park coaching staff and also spent two years as the Valiants manager.
Brian Horton has played for Vale and managed both sides while Levi Reid, Michael Husbands, Craig Davies (pictured), Sam Stockley, Martin Aldridge (RIP), Chris Allen, John Durnin, Arjan van Heusden and Mick Morris have made appearances for both sides.
Micky Adams could be tempted to experiment a little on the last game of the season, but he will also be careful not to field a weakened side with other clubs’ play-off fates linked to the match. OVF thinks any experimentation may be on the bench where Ryan Lloyd, set to be a professional next season, may be involved.
Oxford potentially faced a goalkeeping crisis as usual stopper Wayne Brown is injured and loanee Connor Ripley was sent back to Middlesbrough after an unimpressive game against Southend. So, Chris Wilder has brought in 19 year-old Arsenal goalkeeper Damian Martinez on an emergency loan. The keeper has been in the Argentinian International squad for the friendlies against Nigeria and Poland.
What have they said?
“Going the amount of time we have gone [without winning] is not good enough for this club and we’ll be going all out to win on Saturday.”
– Chris Wilder
“All I thinking of is getting Oxford out of the way, getting Tuesday [the day the retained list will be announced] out of the way and getting on holiday because I need a rest.”
– Micky Adams
Any significant numbers
There are no significant appearance or goal milestones for Vale players on Saturday but many happy returns to John McCome (27 on the 7th May, pictured) and Chris Shuker (30 on the 9th May). Perhaps they will be able to celebrate with a Vale final day victory and a new contract?