As the Valiants prepare to take on local rivals Walsall in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, we take a brief look at the Vale’s latest opponents.
Man in charge
Former Vale defender Dean Smith is in his first managerial post after being appointed in January 2011. Smith joined Vale in 2004 but left just six months later when he was offered a coaching position at Leyton Orient. His Vale career consisted of fifteen games and one goal. In contrast, Smith played 166 games for Walsall between 1989 and 1994. His managerial record stands at 25 wins, 36 draws and 30 losses.
Last time we met
The Valiants were held to a home draw back in 2007 thanks to a last-minute Michael Ricketts equaliser. Vale had taken a 12th minute lead through loanee Marc Laird (who was to join Walsall four years later) but even though Daniel Fox was sent-off for the visitors, they hit back with a late equaliser.
Vale do not fare too well against their traditional local rivals. Walsall have won 37 times, Port Vale have won 19 times and there have been 24 draws.
Other players to appear for both sides include Dean Smith, Marc Laird, Paul Marshall, Stefan Moore, Simon Osborn, Michael Husbands, Brett Angell, Darren Beckford, Colin Gibson, Adrian Littlejohn, Dave Barnett, Nicky Cross, Jonny Brain, Bobby Gough, Roy Cross, Keith Ball, John Woodward, Gary Ford, Steve Cherry, Danny Sonner, Ally Brown, Tony Richards, Trevor Wood, Rhys Weston, Hector Sam and Richard O’Kelly.
Clayton McDonald will not face his former club after Micky Adams decided to rest the central defender. McDonald, alongside Sam Morsy is just one booking away from an automatic ban. The giant defender initially joined Walsall on loan in 2009 before the move was made permanent. In total he made 43 appearances, scoring once. He has recently surpassed that total for the Valiants making 45 appearances so far.
The Valiants have already announced their team ahead of time and have made a number of changes. Chief amongst them is a debut for promising young keeper Sam Johnson (pictured) while Adam Yates and Ben Williamson return to the starting line-up.
The Vale line-up:
Sam Johnson, Adam Yates, John McCombe, Richard Duffy, Rob Taylor, Jennison Myrie-Williams, Chris Shuker, Ryan Burge, Ashley Vincent, Tom Pope, Ben Williamson
Gareth Owen, Joe Davis, Ryan Lloyd, Kingsley James, Louis Dodds
Walsall boss Dean Smith is likely to give one or two of his fringe players a chance and the likes of Ashley Hemmings, Febian Brandy and Richard Taundry may feature.
“We want to go to Walsall and try to get the victory so we can carry on in the competition. They’re a small team with one of the smallest budgets in League One, but they’ve had some new players this year and they’re a young team who play with lots of energy. Our supporters have been travelling in force everywhere we’ve been this season. We even had good numbers down at Exeter, which is a hell of a long way. Hopefully, we can give them something else to shout about.”
– John McCombe
“It’s going to be a tough game as Port Vale have started the season well plus it has the added spice of being a local derby. As a former Port Vale player, I wish them well in their League campaign, but obviously we are focusing all of our attention on overcoming the hurdle that they will present to us.”
– Dean Smith
Our programme review section features Port Vale’s 1976 match programme against Walsall. Take a leaf through its pages by clicking on the link below: