Match Preview – Oldham Athletic v Port Vale
Vale take a break from Football League action this evening when they take on Oldham Athletic at Boundary Park in the Checkatrade Trophy.
Michael Brown has admitted he would love to lead his team out at Wembley when the final takes place in April, but at the moment he has more pressing thoughts on his mind.
After four successive defeats, three of those in League Two, his priority must be to end that run and instill some confidence back into his players.
Arguably, Saturday’s home fixture against Notts County is a much bigger game for his side, but he needs to halt the slide at some point and he would be delighted to do just that tonight.
Despite a home defeat to local rivals Crewe Alexandra on Saturday, there were plenty of positives to take out of the game and he will home to build from that.
Vale’s second half performance at the weekend, when already down to ten men, will give everybody renewed hope that things are gradually falling into place, after the overhaul of the squad during the summer.
Whether the manager puts out what would be seen as a ‘weakened’ side for the game against the Latics remains to be seen, but nobody would blame him if he left one or two players out.
The game against Oldham is one Vale could do with winning, but surely in the manager’s mind, the line-up against the Magpies this Saturday has to be the strongest he can put out.
For that reason, and that of making sure his players all have minutes under their belts, he is likely to field several youngsters for the Checkatrade tie.
Despite the manager saying he would like to play a settled side, we can expect the likes of Dan Turner and Billy Reeves, both of them players who have already featured in the first team this season, to get the nod tonight.
One player who won’t feature tonight is Michael Tonge. He was shown a red card against Crewe at the weekend and so will sit out the first of a three-match suspension.
Dave Johnson – 6TR