It’s a second trip in quick succession to Preston for the Valiants. Here’s our short guide to the weekend’s action…
Manager: Rob Page (interim)
Last match: 4-1 vs Yeovil
Form guide: W-L-L-D-W
Manager: Simon Grayson
Last match: 3-2 vs Port Vale
Form guide: W-W-W-W-D
Ben Williamson: set to start upfront
It’s going to be a tough task for the Valiants against a Preston side who are now unbeaten in their last five games. However, Vale put on an impressive display against Yeovil and manager Rob Page has indicated that the Vale will name an unchanged line-up.
It means that Ben Williamson will have another chance to impress alongside Tom Pope, who has scored four in two games including two against Preston. It means defender Ryan McGivern, capped by Northern Ireland earlier this week, will probably have to be content with a place on the bench.
Preston’s Scott Wiseman, Alan Browne, Will Hayhurst and Callum Robinson are all available again having been on international duty.
OVF Guesswork starting XI
Yates – Duffy – Zubar – Dickinson (c)
Dodds – Lines – O’Connor – Marshall
Pope – Williamson
“I think the team picks itself. I think when you have a winning formula you would be silly to make too many changes…”
– Rob Page
Last time we met
Tom Pope: netted twice against Preston
It wasn’t that long ago… just eleven days ago the two sides met in a JPT clash which Preston edged 3-2. Vale struggled at times against the quality of the North End forward line and nemesis Joe Garner added another goal to the three he scored last season. However, the game did witness the end of Tom Pope’s scoring drought as he netted twice for the Vale.
- Vale wins: 17
- Preston wins: 23
- Draws: 11
The JPT game was the second successive game that Preston have beaten Vale by a scoreline of 3-2. Let’s hope there’s no hat-trick.
Overall there have been FIVE 3-2 scorelines between the two sides. Just like the scoreline, the honours lie at 3-2: Vale have two 3-2 wins and Preston recording three.
The game should also mark Vale captain Carl Dickinson’s 200th league start. 52 of those have come for the Valiants with a further 31 for neighbours Stoke City.
They played for both…
Jordan Hugill: misses out on a game against his former club
Vale will miss catching up with striker Jordan Hugill as the forward is injured. It’s fair to say that Hugill did not depart Vale Park on the best of terms. Many fans felt that he owed some loyalty to the club after he was plucked from non-league obscurity and developed into a raw but potentially prolific forward.
Chris Robertson: appears likely to be on the bench for Vale
Another player who is set to miss out is defender Chris Robertson who appears to be out of favour at Vale right now. The centre-half was signed from Preston in 2013 after a one-year spell at Deepdale. Goalkeeper Chris Neal also began his career at Preston, making a solitary appearance before moving to Shrewsbury Town.
Other players to appear for both clubs include:
- Winger Gareth Ainsworth
- Midfielder Ian Bogie
- Striker Darren Beckford
- Defender Liam Chilvers
- Striker Akpo Sodje
- Winger Oshor Williams
- Striker Dave Hibbert
- Goalkeeper Barry Siddall
Hard Times is considered one of Charles Dickens’ most hard-hitting books with its emphasis on exploring social questions of the day through its depiction of life in Coketown, a generic Northern English mill-town. George Bernard Shaw called it a “passionate revolt against the whole industrial order of the modern world.”
In fact, the novel was rumoured to have been inspired by Dickens’ visit to Preston when he stayed in the Bull & Royal hotel.