The Valiants face a highly controversial cup game against their neighbour’s junior side.
There has been plenty of news stories ahead of this one including a statement from the chairman to clarify the away fans’ allocation. The kick-off time has also been adjusted on police advice. Sometimes, it’s tricky to remember that there is a game of football to be played.
So what team will Neil Aspin opt for? He’s been fielding much-changed teams for the tournament so far but he must be tempted to name a stronger one for this outing. The likes of Tom Pope (right) and Manny Oyeleke are often rested from these games to protect them from injury but OVF wonders if the duo will be put on the bench.
Not going but want to be involved…
If you can’t make it to the game itself, the match will be streamed live on the iFollow service.
iFollow is available to overseas and UK-based Vale fans.
“It is a cup where we could get to Wembley so, regardless of who we are playing, it is definitely a win situation for us. I know we are not playing their first team and I think the fans and us would have probably preferred that. But regardless it is still a competition in which we want to go as far as we can. As players we have the obligation to do our best in any competition we are in…”
Port Vale midfielder Manny Oyeleke
Route to the game
Here are Vale’s Checkatrade results (and Vale goalscorers) so far this season…
- Port Vale 1-0 Burton Albion (Miller, right)
- Port Vale 2-0 Middlesbrough U21 (Miller, Rawlinson)
- Walsall 1-2 Port Vale (Quigley, Pugh)
Stats and facts
Obviously, Vale have never played Stoke City’s U21 side before in a competitive fixture. But if we look at meetings between the senior sides then Vale are unbeaten since 2002 in competitive fixtures. However, that’s, ahem, because Stoke’s elevation to higher leagues has resulted in no competitive fixtures since 2001. The scorer of that 2002 win was Micky Cummins (right).
Crossing the lines
There are a number of players in the Vale ranks who will be keen to prove a point…
Tom Conlon began his career in the Stoke youth team before being released at the age of sixteen.
Theo Vassell (right) also played for the Stoke junior sides until the age of eighteen.
There are a couple of connections with the Stoke senior side as both Danny Pugh and Michael Tonge have turned out for the Potters.