Harrogate Town v Port Vale preview – can Valiants actually play a game and which players will feature?
Harrogate v Port Vale: if the game does take place then it would be Vale’s first game for weeks. Who will prevail? Here’s our preview…
Harrogate Town v Port Vale, League Two
Saturday January 1st, 2022, 3pm
Last time we met?
The two sides met earlier in the season where it ended in a 2-0 home victory for the Valiants thanks to goals from David Worrall and James Wilson. That was just the third competitive meeting between the two sides.
2 Vale wins, 1 draws and 0 defeats.
As we know, it is ever moving. But the positive as we speak today is we have nobody isolating and nobody with Covid as things stand…
Port Vale manager Darrell Clarke
We believe and back the lads. What we see in training, we firmly believe that they can be better than mid-table…
Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver
Valiants team news
In two words – who knows! Vale have had their last three games postponed through positive COVID results so it’s unknown who is available and who is ruled out.
What we can say with reasonable confidence is – defender Dan Jones (pictured) is suspended while strikers Jamie Proctor, James Wilson and George Lloyd are all on the long-term injured list.
Loanee Danny Whitehead has been recalled from a spell at Rochdale to bolster the Vale ranks and it’s entirely possible that youngsters Eden Bailey and Ellis Jones could be in the matchday squad.
Opposition team news
Veteran centre-half Rory McArdle could be fit enough to play some part in this New Year’s day game after recovering from injury.
One to watch: forward Luke Armstrong has ten goals already this season.
Man in charge: Simon Weaver
- Age: 44
- Games in charge: 599
- Win ratio: 41%
This will be the six hundredth game in charge for the long-serving manager.
The Valiants have had some patchy form which has been disrupted by the postponement of the last two games.
Form (all competitions):
Top scorer (all competitions):
Proctor, Wilson, Garrity (7)
Harrogate have lost their last three in the game but won their last game – a FLT game against Tranmere Rovers
Form (all competitions) :
Top scorer (all competitions):
Defender Dan Jones has had an impressive start to his Vale career but he will miss this chance to take on his former club through suspension.
The left-sided defender made 25 appearances for Town scoring two goals before his move to Burslem in the summer.
Other players in recent years to appear for both clubs include defender Callum Howe, winger Brendon Daniels and defender John McCombe.
Neil Aspin achieved legendary status as a player for the Valiants. Signed by John Rudge, Aspin made over 400 appearances, was voted player of the year twice, won promotion and the Football League Trophy.
After leaving the Valiants, Aspin played for Harrogate as a player-coach before taking over as manager. His spell there was a success with two appearances in the play-offs and a 44% win ratio. Sadly, Aspin’s managerial stint at Vale Park was less successful. The legendary player left after 78 games in charge with the club struggling in League Two.
Formed in 1914, Harrogate had to wait until 1919 and the end of World War One to play their first fixture. They were disbanded in 1932 before reforming as the nattily named Harrogate Hotspurs in 1935. They changed their name to the more demur Harrogate Town in 1946.
They won promotion to the National League in 2018 and earned promotion to the Football League through the play-offs in 2020.
Were you paying attention?
Here’s a quick quiz on the opponents:
- What was the score the last time the two met?
- Who is the current Harrogate Town manager?
- In which year were the club founded?
- Which Vale legend has managed both sides?
Quiz answers (no cheating):
- Port Vale 2-0 Harrogate
- Simon Weaver
- Neil Aspin