It’s been dubbed “El Sackio” by some fans as under fire managers Gary Caldwell and Andy Crosby seek to turn around their side’s poor form at St James Park. Here’s our preview…
Exeter City v Port Vale: Saturday December 9th, St James Park stadium, League One, 3pm.
Even Vale’s miraculous cup form seems to be failing them as they exited a knockout tournament for the first time in midweek. However, Valiants fans are more concerned about awful League form that has seen the side winless since September and just two goals in their last six League games. Vale’s central forwards have scored just one goal from open play this season. It’s obvious where the problems live but can Crosby fix them in time to save his job?
The Valiants could be boosted for this vital game by the return of loanees Ollie Arblaster and Alfi Devine who missed the last couple of games through injury. It poses a welcome selection quandary for Crosby with youngster Rhys Walters arguably being the side’s stand-out player in the absence of Arblaster and Devine. Upfront, things are less rosy. Uche Ikpeazu and Ryan Loft remain the only two fit strikers. The problem is – neither have scored in eleven and fourteen appearances respectively.
It’s a case of a similar story at Exeter at the moment. In recent weeks the club has seen a 7-0 thrashing by Bolton Wanderers, exit from the FA Cup and a run of ten League games without a win. The last Exeter player to score in the League was Ryan Trevitt back in October.
MAN IN CHARGE
Gary Caldwell was appointed Exeter manager in October 2022. The former Wigan and Chesterfield boss has been in charge for 39 games with a 30% win ratio.
The two sides first met in a competitive fixture in 1938 when it ended in a 3-1 win for the Valiants. Recent visits to St James Park have resulted in mixed results – there was that dramatic win in 2022 (pictured) when Vale secured a place in the League Two play-offs. But then again… there was the 4-0 loss last season…
Exeter City were founded in 1901 and played their games at St James Park, the stadium which they still play at till this day. They were invited to join the Third Division in 1920. They lost their Football League status in 2003 before returning in 2008. They have proudly been in fan ownership for over twenty years.
Much maligned Vale striker Ryan Loft once had a spell on loan at Exeter. However, it was very much a “blink and you’ll miss it” spell as the then Spurs striker played for just 45 minutes.
Other players to appear for both clubs in recent years include goalkeepers Scott Brown (pictured) and Dino Visser as well as defenders Aaron Martin and Richard Duffy.
26 Port Vale wins
21 Port Vale losses
Our now traditional match preview quiz. How many will you get. Answers below (no cheating!)…
- Who is the current Exeter City manager?
- When was the club formed?
- Which Vale striker had a (very) brief loan spell with City?
JOIN THE DEBATE
Our dedicated match thread on the forum is the place to go to discuss the match before, during and after the action. View the thoughts of fellow fans and add your comments…
PREDICT THE SCORE
GO'ARN THE VALE!
- Gary Caldwell
- Ryan Loft