OVF editor Rob Fielding says it’s a no brainer that the FA Cup tie against Hartlepool United is Port Vale’s most important game of the season so far.
Rob Fielding writes…
There’s really no underestimating the importance of Sunday’s FA Cup game against Hartlepool United. It’s a game that Bruno Ribeiro simply cannot afford to lose.
In the summer, chairman Norman Smurthwaite backed Ribeiro both vocally and financially but warned that the club needed to be in contention for promotion at the end of the year or a “Plan B” would be called for.
While the cup match will have no direct bearing on Vale’s league aspirations, it remains a vital fixture for Ribeiro and co.
Why? Well, it’s fair to say that Vale’s form has been insipid and uninspiring in recent weeks. Fans have responded by criticising the manager’s tactics, summer signings and are staying away from games in droves. Ribeiro’s future is looking increasingly shaky.
So, it really does seem to be win or bust on Sunday.
Should Vale fall to Hartlepool then the future will start looking grim for the manager and even more doom and gloom will descend on Vale Park. However, if the Vale get past Hartlepool and reach the lucrative third round it could galvanise players and fans as well as keeping Ribeiro in a job.