Our first two minute guide of the new season features (surprise, surprise) Port Vale’s first opponents.
It’s Vale’s first game of the season and they will be desperate to a) get off to a decent start in front of their home fans b) gain some redress for the 5-0 thrashing by Cambridge in the last game of last season.
Vale have made a host of new signings over the summer so it’s difficult to predict exactly who will start. Antony Kay is suspended – a legacy of his red card last season while newcomer Tom Conlon is out for a month through injury. Goalkeeper Scott Brown (right), midfielder Luke Joyce and forward Tom Pope are all givens if fit but elsewhere it really does depend on formation, form and fitness. Veteran Leon Legge is favourite to play against his former club at the back while forward Ricky Miller, short of match fitness, may start on the bench.
“It is a big game but one we have to look forward to because we want to restore some pride…”
Port Vale manager Neil Aspin
“It’s going to be completely different [from last season]. I know for the lads that are still here from last season are still hurting, I know I am…”
Striker Tom Pope
“Our intention [is] to go and attack teams and try to be the same team as we finished last season as.”
Cambridge assistant manager Mark Bonner
The opposition dugout
45 year-old Joe Dunne’s entire Cambridge managerial career has featured games against Port Vale. Dunne was unveiled as permanent boss last season before his side thrashed the Valiants 5-0 and thus he boasts a 100% record against the Vale. This record is a bit of a cheat though as he was also Cambridge caretaker for a spell last season. Elsewhere, Dunne managed Colchester United for 99 games between 2009 and 2014.
News from the opponents
The main news from Cambridge was whether highly rated George Maris would feature. The club have confirmed that the midfielder’s proposed move to Rotherham United is off and the player is “motivated” and ready to face the Valiants. Over the summer, manager Joe Dunne has made three signings – bringing in Louis John (from Sutton United), former loanee George Taft and former Carlisle forward Reggie Lambe.
Legge (right) will be facing his former club after switching to the Valiants in the summer. Midfielder Luke Hannant was also part of the Cambridge youth system in his early years. Cambridge goalkeeping coach is former Vale stopper Kevin Pilkington.
- This is the first time in four seasons that the Valiants have started with a home league fixture.
- However, Vale have won just once in the last three times that they started the season at Vale Park.
- The one saving grace is that the last time Vale faced Cambridge at home they won 2-0 (back in December 2017) thanks to two goals from Cristian Montano.