Port Vale v Cambridge preview: it’s likely to be a much tougher test for Darrell Clarke’s Valiants as they take on promotion chasing Cambridge United.
We preview the action…
Have your say
Want to share your thoughts on this game? Join our dedicated match thread.
You need to be a registered user of our forum but registration is simple and free. Join the debate through the button below…
Teams: Port Vale v Cambridge Utd
Competition: League Two
Venue: Vale Park stadium
Kick-off: Saturday 27th February, 3pm
We are all aware how patchy Vale’s form is but the side have at least put together a mini two match unbeaten run under Darrell Clarke. Opponents Cambridge had been in fine form but that’s come a little unstuck in the last four games with just one win.
Port Vale team news
How will Vale line-up after their disappointing home draw against Stevenage? Reverting to a back three seems to have shored the defence up but at the expense of attacking threat and creativity. The loss of Luke Joyce (pictured) could force a change in formation unless Clarke opts to drop Tom Conlon back and bring Scott Burgess into the middle. A lot will also depend on whether David Worrall is fit. If so, 3-5-2 doesn’t really suit wingers so it may be tweaked to allow Worrall back. If he’s not fit, will Clarke think that wing-backs Gibbon and Montano provide the best supply lines upfront? Upfront, the Vale boss has said he prefers two upfront but will he opt to drop loanee Will Swan to the bench. If so, which of Mark Cullen or Kurtis Guthrie comes in?
Possible Starting XI:
Brown – Legge, Smith, Crookes – Gibbons, Burgess, Conlon, Taylor, Montano – Rodney, Cullen
One to watch:
If Luke Joyce is ruled out there’s likely to be even more responsibility on the shoulders of captain Tom Conlon. The midfielder had a rare off day on Tuesday and will be keen to be back to the all-action style which makes him a hot favourite to be named player of the year.
Head coach Mark Bonner has enjoyed a spectacular start to his managerial career. After winning four out of seven games as a caretaker, he was appointed on a permanent basis in March 2020. Since then he’s won nineteen out of thirty nine – a win ratio of 49%.
Opposition team news
Hiram Boateng and Liam O’Neil are both returning to full fitness and in contention but Paul Digby is still ruled out. Tottenham Hotspur loanee Shilow Tracey is also in the reckoning, with the midfielder having recovered from a hamstring injury.
This game should see a return to Vale Park for former winger Luke Hannant. A Neil Aspin signing from non-league Gateshead, the winger made 68 Port Vale appearances and scored five goals during a two year stay between 2017 and 2019.
Meanwhile, on the Vale side, while David Amoo may miss out through injury, defender Leon Legge is back in favour and could play against a club for whom he made 110 appearances over a three year spell.
Some of the other players to appear for both sides in recent seasons include: winger Sam Kelly, striker Uche Ikpeazu, defender Kyle Howkins (pictured) and striker Ben Williamson.
Looking further back, defender Wayne Ebanks played for the Valiants for three years in the mid-80s making a total of 48 appearances for the side. After his release in 1987, he spent a single season with Cambridge where he made six Fourth Division appearances.
Last time we met:
It was a sobering result for the Valiants earlier in the season when they lost 3-1 at Cambridge. Theo Robinson was on target for Vale with a first-half penalty. Vale have a better record at home against Cambridge. During last season’s truncated season they won 1-0 thanks to a Richie Bennett goal. In 2018, they won 3-0 thanks to goals from Ricky Miller and two from Tom Pope. In fact, the Vale have won their last five home games against United.
Overall record: 10 Port Vale wins | 8 Port Vale losses | 2 draws
From the archives…
Port Vale 5-0 Cambridge United, 2001
Vale ran riot in 2001 with four players getting on the scoresheet. The Vale were winning 1-0 at the break thanks to a 39h minute goal from Micky Cummins (pictured) but ran riot after the break. Loan striker Chris Killen scored twice while Ian Armstrong and Steve Brooker were also on target. It could have even been more with Vale scoring four in eleven minutes to make it 5-0 after 59 minutes. But Cambridge managed to keep the home side from scoring in the final half an hour!
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