The Valiants face another crucial game on Saturday afternoon so here’s our brief guide to the side’s next opponents.
Any other business?
Nearly 3,000 Vale fans will be travelling to the game as the Valiants hope to take another giant step towards promotion.
Man in charge
Keith Hill took over from John Coleman in January. Hill’s record stands at five wins, six draws and four losses.
Good. The side have recorded three straight wins. Rochdale have a good recent home record with their last defeat at Spotland coming back in February.
Last time we met
The two sides drew 2-2 in November. Vale were seemingly cruising thanks to two goals from Tom Pope (right) but Sam Morsy’s red card on 68 minutes led to ten-man Vale conceeding two late goals as the visitors managed a share of the points.
It’s very much in Vale’s favour. Rochdale have won seven, Vale have won twenty and there have been twenty two draws.
Vale boast a decent record at Spotland having lost just once in their last five visits to the ground.
Gareth Griffiths (right) was another of John Rudge’s “non-league bargains” when he signed from Rhyl for a mere £1,000 in 1993. He rapidly became one of the club’s hottest prospects with some composed and classy performances in central defence. But like fellow defender Michael Walsh, Griffiths’ Vale career would be one of unfulfilled promise due to an awful injury record. Hampered by groin and hernia injuries, he was restricted to just 116 appearances in five years.
He duly signed for ambitious Wigan Athletic alongside fellow Valiant Andy Porter in 1998 and in 2001 he joined Rochdale. He managed to avoid injury for much of his five year spell at Spotland and even netted a hat-trick in a 4-1 win over Scarborough in the LDV Vans Trophy.
After his retirement from the game, Griffiths moved into financial planning for sports stars and is also involved in sports media services.
Louis Dodds and Chris Shuker both had loan spells at Rochdale and may face their former club.
Other players to appear for both sides include Marc Richards (loan spell at Rochdale), Alf Bellis, Kevin Pilkington, Jimmy Greenoff, Harry Anstiss, Paul Marshall (right) , Dean Stokes, Ernie Moss, Chris Pearce, Neil Brisco, Arthur McGarry, Bob Mountford (RIP), Darrell Clarke (holder of the shortest Vale first team career – one minute), Jeff Smith, Will Atkinson, Les Lawrence, Sean McClare, Terry Owen, Syd Goodfellow, Peter Farrell, Winston White, Albert Pearson, Jon Bowden, Ian Griffiths, Jack Prince, Tony Lacey, Gerry Keenan, Steve Taylor, Arnold Bliss, Tom Page, David Carrick and Andy Higgins,
Vale will be boosted by the news that John McCombe is fit to play after he limped out of the Aldershot game. Winger Ashley Vincent may be fit enough to make the squad. Striker Calvin Andrew and winger Rob Taylor are both injured.
Midfielder Ritchie Jones is injured for the home-side so Callum Camps should deputise.
“My assistant manager went to watch them on Wednesday night and they were very, very good. He came back in a really positive frame of mind about them and that is worrying.”
– Micky Adams
“Rochdale have got some good players and certainly going forward they are very lively and sharp. Players like Ashley Grimes and Bobby Grant can score goals out of nothing.”
– Tom Pope