Harrogate Town v Port Vale preview: can the Valiants continue their recent good run of form on their first competitive visit to Harrogate
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Teams: Harrogate Town v Port Vale
Competition: League Two
Venue: Wetherby Road Stadium
Kick-off: Monday 5th April, 3pm
Image: Harrogate Town v Aldershot by yellow book is licensed under CC BY 2.0
The Valiants made it four wins in a row and took a further step away from danger at the bottom of the table. They face a Harrogate side without a win in five games and who have lost their last two games at home.
Port Vale team news:
Not much to report here. With Theo Robinson finding the target after a long goal drought, there’s even more reason for Darrell Clarke to keep an unchanged side just so long as there are no fresh injuries. Dino Visser and Zak Mills will remain sidelined for the remainder of the season but the Valiants are hopeful that Tom Pope and James Gibbons will feature at some point as they recover from knocks.
Possible Starting XI:
Brown – Smith, Legge, Brisley – Worrall, Joyce, Conlon, Oyeleke, Montano – Rodney, Robinson
One to watch:
It’s worth noting that Vale’s impressive run has coincided with the return of the unassuming Shaun Brisley to the starting line-up.
43 year old Simon Weaver took Harrogate into the Football League and has been in charge at the club since 2009. That spell has lasted 563 games so far with a win ratio of 41.92%
Forward Jack Muldoon is the side’s top scorer with twelve League goals. The squad is generally a settled one with James Belshaw the regular keeper; Warren Burrell, Ryan Fallowfield and Will Smith all regulars in the defence; while Josh Falkingham and George Thompson are regular picks in midfield. Impressively, all seven have stepped up to League football after being part of Harrogate’s non-league promotion squad.
Harrogate midfielder Tom Walker (pictured) once had a trial with Port Vale in the summer of 2017 under Michael Brown. He joined Harrogate from Salford in 2020. However, Walker will not face the Valiants as he is currently on loan at Stockport County.
The obvious connection between the two sides is Port Vale legend Neil Aspin. Aspin, twice player of the year for the Valiants and a member of the 1993 Autoglass Trophy winning side and promotion in 1994 played over 400 times for the Valiants. The 55 year-old has played and managed for both clubs. His management spell at Harrogate saw him in charge for four years with a 44% win ratio. His time at Vale was less enjoyable as it lasted less than two years and just a 30% win ratio.
Last time we met:
The two sides have only met once before. It was a relatively dour 0-0 draw with David Worrall (pictured) striking the post for the Valiants. The game also marked the Football League debut for then recent signing Harry McKirdy. Here’s the Port Vale starting eleven for that game:
Brown – Mills, Legge, Smith, Fitzpatrick – Joyce, Conlon, Oyeleke – Worrall, Cullen, Rodney