We take a look ahead to Vale’s first fixture of 2014 – a trip to Preston North End on New Year’s Day.
Griffith: suspended for one match
Anthony Griffith will miss out for Vale after picking up his fifth booking of the season, but centre-half Chris Robertson will return from injury. Vale may keep faith with their 4-3-3 formation after the win over Rotherham so that could mean either Chris Shuker or Chris Birchall coming in for Griffith.
Preston will also have a player missing through suspension – with centre-half Paul Huntington missing out.
Possible starting eleven:
Yates Robertson Duffy Dickinson
Loft Lines Shuker
Tomlin Pope Dodds
Dodds: expecting an exciting match
“We have to play different away from home anyway so we might have to soak up a bit of pressure and go for the counter-attack. It is going to be an exciting game and it is one everyone is looking forward to.”
– Louis Dodds
Last time we met:
Ten-man Preston secured a shock 2-0 win over the Valiants thanks to two goals from Joe Garner. Ironically, after the game, a red card shown to Neil Kilkenny was rescinded and a ban was handed to goalscorer Garner, who had actually been the culprit.
- Vale wins: 17
- Preston wins: 21
- Draws: 11
Last time we:
Defeated Preston away from home was back in 1992. On that occasion, Vale won 5-2
Defender Chris Robertson (right) will be facing former club Preston for the second time since his move to Vale Park in the summer. Robertson signed for North End from Torquay in 2012 and made 44 appearances before leaving to join the Valiants. Preston may want to keep an eye on the big defender at set-pieces as Robertson has already scored three times for Vale this season.
Fellow centre-half Liam Chilvers also had a spell at Preston, making 107 appearances from 2006 to 2010 while injured goalkeeper Chris Neal also started his career at Preston although he did not make a first-team appearance
Steve Harper, Akpo Sodje, Gareth Ainsworth, Ian Bogie (right), Darren Beckford, Rob Kozluk, Oshor Williams, John Ritchie, Dave Hibbert, Brett Angell, Jim Arnold, Lee Ashcroft, David Beresford, Gary Brazil, David Healy, Jason Jarrett, Jemal Johnson, Ryan Kidd, Ted Critchley and David Carrick.
The late John McGrath also managed both sides – Port Vale 1979 to 1983 and Preston 1986-1990. He also achieved promotion for both sides.
If forward Ben Williamson makes an appearance, it will mark his 100th senior appearance for the Valiants.
Meanwhile, Chris Shuker could record his 50th league appearance for the Vale should he feature.