Port Vale will be missing three players for crucial Colchester United clash

Port Vale’s home game against Colchester United is one of the most highly anticipated games of the season but Vale will have to make do without three players on Saturday afternoon.

The match allows Vale the chance to pick up a win against a side in the play-off places and potentially replace them in the top seven.

However, Vale will now be missing Tom Pope, Mitch Clark and James Gibbons when they play the fixture.

Gibbons is serving the last game of a two-match ban for picking up ten yellow cards this season. His replacement on Tuesday night, Mitch Clark, will now serve a three game ban after being dismissed for a reckless challenge during the closing stages of the game against Forest Green Rovers. Meanwhile, striker Tom Pope, who netted twice on Tuesday, will serve a one match ban for picking up two yellow cards. Pope is still awaiting the result of an FA charge for a tweet sent in January so this may not be the only suspension the striker has to serve.

In the absence of Clark and Gibbons, John Askey could opt for Callum Evans or perhaps more likely Will Atkinson at right-back, while Cristian Montano will continue at left-back. Richie Bennett is likely to start up front in place of Pope although Mark Cullen is another option.

However, despite the absences Vale’s squad strength was much in evidence on Tuesday evening. A strong Vale bench included defender Nathan Smith and the returning Manny Oyeleke who played an entertaining cameo as a sub on Tuesday evening. With Jake Taylor and Adam Crookes close to returning from injury, Vale should still have plenty of options left for the crucial season run-in.

Ruled Out

  • Mitch Clark – three match ban
  • Tom Pope – one match ban (plus awaiting results of an FA charge for a tweet)
  • James Gibbons – final game of a two match ban