Sunderland v Port Vale preview: it’s caretaker Danny Pugh’s second game in charge. Will it be a much-changed side in the Football League Trophy?
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Teams: Sunderland v Port Vale
Competition: Football League Trophy, third round
Venue: Stadium of Light
Kick-off: Tuesday 12th January, 6pm
“Stadium of Light, mostly empty before kick-off” by majabl is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
In terms of League form, Saturday represented a first win in seven games. However, Vale have fared much better in the Trophy (clearly they had to in order to reach this stage). So far, Vale have drawn one and won three in this competition. In the process, Vale have been relatively free scoring with nine goals in their last three games. Opponents Sunderland have drawn three in a row in the League. In the Trophy they have lost one and won three. They have been even more prolific than Vale netting a highly impressive sixteen goals (buoyed by an 8-1 thrashing of Aston Villa B).
Port Vale team news:
A tricky one. Will Danny Pugh take the chance to do a thorough rotation or will he look for a strong side to help his own chances of getting the manager’s job and for the team to progress to the next stage? We suspect that the impressive Dino Visser (pictured) may get another start in goal to give him game time. Ryan Campbell-Gordon was an interesting pick on the bench on Saturday and with Vale unable to make too many changes from the last matchday squad, it’s possible that the youngster may get a first start of the season on Tuesday. Leon Legge is eligible for this competition too and Danny Pugh may take the chance to rest one of Smith and Brisley. “New” signing Jake Taylor is available and may get a run out in midfield. With Devante Rodney picking up a knock it could mean a start for Theo Robinson or Mark Cullen too. We’re taking a wild guess with our starting eleven…
Possible Starting XI:
Visser – Mills, Legge, Brisley, Campbell-Gordon – Amoo, Whitehead, Taylor, Hurst – Robinson, Cullen
One to watch:
Football League Trophy games are always a chance for fringe players to stake a claim. Last week, striker Theo Robinson was dropped by the manager, out of the squad and transfer listed. On Saturday he was back in the Port Vale squad and featured late on. With Devante Rodney likely to be rested this could be a real opportunity for Robinson to turn his Vale career around with a good performance.
Opposition team news
According to the local media, Sunderland will also ring the changes for this game. Recent signing Carl Winchester is cup tied as is on loan defender Dion Sanderson. Defender Jordan Willis is expected to play while the club have already said that Elliot Embleton will also start. Youngsters such as Dan Neil, Ollie Younger, and Mitch Curry are also expected to be in the matchday squad.
There could also be a couple of better known names. Striker Danny Graham (pictured) formerly of Watford, Swansea and Blackburn, midfielder Chris Maguire and Aiden O’Brien could also be involved.
File:Danny Graham.JPG” by MNelson1993 is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
39 year-old Lee Johnson is the latest person to take charge of Sunderland who seem to have adopted a “revolving door” policy in recent years. In the last two years the club have sacked both Jack Ross and possible Vale target Phil Parkinson. Former Oldham and Bristol City boss Johnson joined in December and has been in charge for three games so far.
It is a great opportunity, it is a great place to go and play. It is going to be a tough test against a very good opposition but the lads are desperate to play, they will all want to play whether they played on Saturday or not so it is going to be a good opportunity for whoever gets to start and obviously the lads coming off the bench…
Port Vale manager Danny Pugh
There are no players in either squad who have played for both sides. The most recent player would be last season’s Vale reserve keeper Jonny Maddison who began his career with Sunderland but without making a senior appearance. Maddison made just one appearance for Vale before being released. Ironically, it was in the Football League Trophy so if Maddison was still around it would be possible he could be playing.
Looking further back, Poterries-born Arthur Bridgett had a glittering career with Sunderland. He scored 116 goals in 347 appearances and earned eleven England caps.
He guested once for Port Vale for a wartime match and then at the ripe old age of 41 he returned to playing by joining the Valiants permanently. The former International showed his class with seven goals in fourteen appearances.
We felt that Arthur’s brief but memorable contribution to the Vale was worthy of a place in our Cult Heroes section so we wrote an article on him. You can read it through this link
Last time we met:
The two sides last met in the FA Cup in 2018. Taking place on Remembrance weekend, we’ve got an image of the ceremony before the game took place. On the field, Tom Pope gave Vale the lead but the Valiants were unable to hold on as they lost 2-1. Vale’s last visit to Sunderland also ended in defeat as they lost 2-0 in 1998. In fact, the Valiants have never won at Sunderland. But there’s always a first time…
Overall record: 3 Port Vale wins | 8 Port Vale losses | 9 draws
From the archives…
This is one for the older fans but Vale recorded a memorable FA replay win over Sunderland back in 1962. It was a performance which was orchestrated by Vale’s veteran “singing” winger Colin Grainger (pictured) against his former club.
As a notable Vale giantkilling we did a feature on it and you can read more about that match through this link
How to watch:
Finally, let’s deal with watching this behind closed doors game. It will be available to watch on the iFollow service. Here’s how to watch it…
Q: Do I have to set up the account/buy the pass on the day of the match?
A: No, you can set up your iFollow account and/or buy your match pass in advance if it is easier. All you need to do then is log onto iFollow on the day of the match go to this page and there will be an option at the bottom to watch live video.
Q: Can I watch it down the pub?
A: No, it’s illegal to show iFollow streams in public so they would be breaking the law. The service is for private use only.
Q: Can I watch it on the TV screen?
A: The iFollow service is available via an app or a browser. Probably the simplest way to watch it on the TV screen is to watch the stream on a browser and connect your computer to your TV via a HDMI lead. The video and audio should then show on your screen.
Q: What about the programme?
A: Ahead of the game Port Vale will also be sending all season ticket holders a link to a complimentary digital copy of our new-look matchday programme! If you do not receive your digital copy by 1pm on Saturday, then please contact us on the numbers provided above. Additionally, if you wish to collect a physical copy of the programme ahead of kick off – please contact the club shop.
Q: What commentary will be provided?
A: Usually commentary from both teams (home and away) is provided. In Vale’s case it is usually the BBC Radio Stoke commentary team. When the match starts, click on the cog on the bottom RH corner to select home or away commentary.
Q: Does Port Vale make money from iFollow?
A: Yes and in these days of behind closed door matches, the revenue from iFollow can be vital. Clubs like Vale earn around 80% of the cost of an iFollow ticket regardless of whether the game is played home or away.
Q: What about if I still have an issue?
A: If you are experiencing problems with iFollow should contact EFL iFollow by telephone – 0207 8264577 (three hours before kick-off and running until three hours after matches finish) or by email – iFollow@efl.com (staffed from 8am to 7pm every day).
Need more information? We have a dedicated forum thread with help and advice right here. There’s also a guide on setting up an iFollow account while here is a guide for season ticket holders redeeming a code