Port Vale v Stevenage preview: after a promising opening game at Leyton Orient how will Darrell Clarke fare in his first Port Vale home game?
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Teams: Port Vale v Stevenage
Competition: League Two
Venue: Vale Park stadium
Kick-off: Tuesday 23rd February, 7pm
Vale’s form continues to be patchy but with Darrell Clarke just one game into his reign, he’s hardly to blame. However, a win on Tuesday would at least make it three wins out of four at home. Stevenage have been in decent form of late with three wins in their last seven games including two consecutive victories on the road.
Port Vale team news
Darrell Clarke named his first starting eleven on Saturday and it’s likely that’s there’s only two questions after its performance:
- Will the impressive David Worrall (pictured) be fit enough to start? The signs are that with just two day’s rest, he may not be, and if so it’s likely that Cristian Montano may come into the starting eleven.
- Will Clarke keep faith with debutant Mustapha Olagaunji at the back or, after a shaky second-half spell, is the time right to recall veteran Leon Legge?
Possible Starting XI:
Brown – Gibbons, Olagunji, Smith, Crookes – Hurst, Joyce, Conlon, Montano – Rodney, Guthrie
One to watch:
Youngster Alex Hurst came back into the starting line-up and praise for his performance featured prominently in the manager’s post-match comments. Hurst is out of contract in the summer and while he’s done brilliantly to force his way into the first eleven, there’s still an opportunity to impress even more. Perhaps one thing missing from his game is goals – one on Tuesday night will go a long way towards keeping his place in the side.
37 year-old Alex Revell was appointed manager in February 2020. He’s been in charge for 39 games with a 21% win ratio.
Opposition team news
Goalkeeper Jamie Cumming marked his return from injury by starting the draw with Walsall on Saturday. It means that Stevenage have no injuriy concerns apart from Charlie Carter and Ross Marshall . One to watch could be Elliott List with the 23 year-old in good recent form in recent games. However, there’s also an experienced spine to the side in 31 year-old defenders Ben Coker and Luke Prosser (more on him later) and midfielders Tom Pett and Chris Lines (more on him later too).
This game should see a return to Vale Park for former midfielder Chris Lines. Now 35, Lines has been a regular starter for Stevenage since moving there in January from Northampton Town. It’s nearly eight years since he played for Vale with Lines having a two year spell with the club back in 2018. He played 61 times and scored three goals. There’s another former Valiant in the Stevenage line-up in central defender Luke Prosser who made his League debut when at the Valiants.
Meanwhile, on the Vale side, striker Kurtis Guthrie will hope to get off the mark against his former club. Club captain Tom Conlon will face his former club too. However, winger Harry McKirdy will not face a club where he spent a spell on loan as he’s not in the Vale League squad.
Some of the other players to appear for both sides in recent seasons include: midfielder Anthony Grant, striker Greg Luer midfielder Michael Tonge, defender Lawrie Wilson and defender Tyler Denton.
Looking further back, defender Colin Miles played for Stevenage Borough back in 2000 and had a short spell with Port Vale from 2006 to 2008 when he made 32 appearances.
Last time we met:
The two sides met in November where it finished in disappointment for the Valiants as they lost 2-1. Devante Rodney was the scorer for Vale. However, games against Stevenage have generally been good for the Valiants recently with just two losses in their last six fixtures. The last game at Vale Park ended in a 1-1 draw with Jake Taylor on the mark.
Overall record: 3 Port Vale wins | 5 Port Vale losses | 6 draws
From the archives…
Port Vale 1-1 Stevenage, 2009
The first meeting between the two sides was an FA Cup game in 2009. It finished 1-1 at Vale Park with defender Adam Yates scoring a rare Vale goal. The replay, the first Vale game to be streamed live on the Internet, finished 1-0 to Vale with Louis Dodds scoring the winner.
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