After the excitement of the FA Cup third round draw, it’s back to the ‘other’ cup competition for the Valiants.
It will be interesting to see how seriously Vale treat this competition now they are in the knock-out stages. Last season, Vale switched from squad players to a full-strength side for the 4-0 win over Stoke City – will John Askey do the same tonight? After all, the trip to Manchester represents a potential windfall but this game offers Vale a more realistic chance of progressing through this round and potentially eyeing a Wembley cup final. If changes are made then it could be that Mark Cullen (pictured right) and Richie Bennett come in upfront. Manager John Askey will still be without Emmanuel Oyeleke and Adam Crookes who remain sidelined, and David Worrall will serve the second of his four-match suspension so he will also be unavailable.
The clubs last met back earlier this season when it ended in a 2-2 draw back in September. The Vale goalscorers that day were Mark Cullen and defender Nathan Smith (pictured right). The last meeting in the Football League Trophy was back in 2016 when it ended in a 1-0 win for Mansfield. That remains the only other time the two sides have met in this competition. Overall, Vale have 22 wins compared to Mansfield’s sixteen and there have been fourteen draws.
Should he be selected, Vale midfielder Will Atkinson (pictured right) will come up against a club for whom he featured last season. Atkinson made 71 appearances for the Stags. There are a couple of former Valiants in the Mansfield squad in Craig Davies and Krystian Pearce.
There have been a fair few players to appear for both clubs in recent years including Lee Collins, Ritchie Sutton, Gary Roberts, John McCombe, George Pilkington and Tyler Walker.
“Winning becomes a habit and we’ll put everything we have into Tuesday’s game, and hopefully we can get a result and move on in that competition because it’s the one competition with the possibility of getting to Wembley, so we’ll enjoy this and hopefully we’ll be enjoying Tuesday as well…”
Port Vale manager John Askey (right)
It was a happy new year for the Valiants as they thumped Mansfield 4-1 in late January as part of a run of ten wins in twelve games. Unsurprisingly, Vale marched to promotion at the end of the 1982-83 season. The Vale goalscorers in that win were Terry Armstrong (with a double), the late Steve Fox (pictured right) and burly striker Bob Newton. It was played in front of a crowd of 4,102.