Here’s our traditional pre-match feature for our first away trip of the new season – Doncaster Rovers.
Manager: Micky Adams
Last match: 6-2 vs Hartlepool
Form guide: D-W
Manager: Paul Dickov
Last match: 1-0 vs York
Form guide: W-W
Michael O’Connor: could miss out
Michael O’Connor is Vale’s main injury worry – Steve Jennings or Michael Brown could step in if the midfielder doesn’t make it. Meanwhile, Colin Daniel and Richard Duffy are both expected to be in contention. Byron Moore has returned to training but is still some way away from a first-team return. Sam Johnson is expected to keep his place in goal ahead of Chris Neal.
Defender Jamie McCombe (brother of former Valiant John) is in contention as Paul Dickov has a fully-fit squad.
Here’s our patented “finger in the air” possible starting XI:
Veseli – Duffy – McGivern – Dickinson (c)
Birchall – Brown – Lines – Marshall
Pope – Williamson
“This is a real tough game. I think they will be there or thereabouts come the end of the season. They are obviously one of the bookies’ favourites, so it will be an early test for us, but one we are looking forward to…”
– Micky Adams
Last time we met
The two sides last met back in 2008 when Doncaster recorded a 2-1 win. The home side had taken a 2-0 lead early-on through Heffernan and McCammon before Danny Whitaker (right) scored a consolation for the Valiants.
- Vale wins: 19
- Doncaster wins: 20
- Draws: 8
Did you know?
Tom Pope: set for the 200th league start of his career against Doncaster
- Vale’s away record against Doncaster is desperately poor. The Vale haven’t won since 1980 – a run of eight games
- Should he start (and we hope he will) this would be Tom Pope‘s 200th career league start
- In 2006, in a live televised game on Sky, Vale were 1-0 up (through Danny Whitaker) only for Doncaster to score twice in the last two minutes and win the game 2-1.
They played for both…
Striker Billy Paynter (above) enjoyed an eventful spell at Rovers. Paynter provided the assist for Doncaster’s memorable last-gasp win over Brentford in 2013 which secured promotion to the Championship. Paynter started his career with the Valiants, progressing through the junior ranks to make his debut aged just 16.
Meanwhile, former Vale manager Brian Horton is currently Paul Dickov’s assistant.
Other players to appear for both sides include:
- Former Vale winger Steve Harper made 65 Doncaster appearances in the mid-90’s.
- Former Vale loanee James O’Connor (right) spent six years with Rovers.
- Midfielder Ryan Burge made one appearance for Doncaster in 2011.
- Striker Steve Brooker had an injury-ravaged spell with Rovers, making just two starts in two years.
- Midfielder Anthony Griffith turned professional with Doncaster.
Lower league journeyman Ernie Moss secured consecutive promotions with Port Vale and Doncaster Rovers. Moss joined Vale in 1981 and won the player of the year award after his first season. He was sold to Lincoln City midway through Vale’s promotion season.
However, his stay at City was brief and he joined Doncaster in the summer of 1983, helping them to promotion at the end of the season.
Over Moss’s 21 year playing career he made 749 league appearances playing for numerous clubs including three spells with Chesterfield.