It’s the biggest game in yonks for Port Vale – here’s our preview of the weekend action…
Departures at Vale Park
They would not have been in contention for this game anyhow but Vale have announced that trialist Lewis McGugan and central defender Joe Davis (right) have both left the club. Davis had been transfer-listed and had failed to make a single appearance this season while the fitness of McGugan was not considered good enough for the club to take him on.
CEO faces the fans at Supporters Meeting
Port Vale Chief Executive Colin Garlick (right) hit the spotlight this week by taking on a wide range of questions at a Supporters Club meeting. Among the issues discussed were Vale’s January transfer window business, the exit of manager Neil Aspin and of course, owner Norman Smurthwaite. In the same meeting, Supporters Club chief Mark Porter urged Vale fans to be the twelfth man at the County fixture.
County face administration fears
There are concerns that opponents Notts County could be placed into administration after the collapse of their owner’s company. Owner Alan Hardy borrowed £7m from his company to buy the club and there are concerns that administrators could ask for the money back, which in turn could place the club in administration.
Askey says Vale are going there to win
“We are going there to win and if we can get that, the gap opens up again and we would sleep in our beds a bit better on Saturday. There are still a lot of games to go and the approach won’t be any different to any of the other fixtures, but we want to come away with three points. Winning would lift everyone around the club and it would give the players belief in what we’re doing, but there is a good atmosphere between the players – if you came in you wouldn’t think we were where we are in the league…”
Port Vale manager John Askey
“Obviously there’s pressure, but there’s pressure at the start of the season before you’ve kicked a football before the season’s started. There’s always pressure and there always will be pressure. No matter what age you are, you speak to the older lads like Popey, Tongey and Pughy, they still feel pressure. You’ve just got to get on with it and we can use it to our advantage…”
Port Vale winger David Worrall
That winning feeling…
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County have the lead historically
Over the years, Notts County have a distinct advantage over the Valiants. You can find out more on our dedicated fixture history article
Ardley in charge at Meadow Lane
Former AFC Wimbledon manager Neal Ardley is the manager of Notts County. Ardley took over from Harry Kewell in November 2018. He has been in charge for seventeen games, winning just three.
Former Valiants could miss out
There are two former Port Vale defenders on Notts County’s books. Both Richard Duffy and Dan Jones played a role in Vale’s 2013 promotion campaign. However, while Duffy would expect a reasonable reception the same could not be said of Jones. The defender left the club under a cloud after his contract was terminated following a well-publicised training ground altercation with then captain Doug Loft. However, neither Jones nor Duffy have been starters for County in recent weeks and so both could miss out on the chance to face their former club.
However, Port Vale winger Cristian Montano, who spent a brief loan spell with County, could be in the Vale starting eleven for this game.
Crossing the lines…
Other players to appear for both clubs in recent years include:
- Defender Carl Dickinson
- Midfielder Michael O’Connor (right)
- Striker Lee Hughes
- Goalkeeper Kevin Pilkington