MATCH PREVIEW: Port Vale v Notts County
They often say when you’ve been waiting for a bus for a long time, inevitably two come along at one. That may or not be true, but Michael Brown will be hoping it extends to clean sheets.
After five previous attempts, Vale recorded a blank for the first time on attempt number six, against Oldham Athletic at Boundary park on Tuesday evening and a follow-up against Notts County this weekend would be most welcome.
If Vale can get things right from a defensive point of view, then hopefully everything else will begin to fall into place and the team can build from there.
Vale have been working exceptionally hard in training and hopefully competition for places will be more challenging after signing a defender on loan this week.
23-year-old Tom Anderson started 34 games whilst on loan with Chesterfield last season and has joined Vale from Burnley on a season-long loan, with the option of a recall in January.
He was joined on transfer deadline day by 22-year-old Doncaster Rovers midfielder Harry Middleton, who also put pen to paper on a season-long loan deal.
Middleton, who was part of the Rovers squad who gained promotion from League Two last season, made 80 appearances during his four years as a professional with the club.
Michael Brown will be hoping goalkeeper Rob Lainton is ready to return to the side as he recovers from injury – the Vale boss will assess the situation with his medical staff before making that decision.
Michael Tonge will not be available for selection for Saturday’s fixture as he starts a three-match suspension after picking up a red card in last Saturday’ home defeat to Crewe.
Similarly, Notts County will be without former Crewe defender Matt Tootle, who was sent off late as the Magpies threw way a two-goal lead, being forced to settle for a point at home to Accrington Stanley last Friday night.
With a Saturday off, former Vale defenders Richard Duffy and Carl Dickinson both took the opportunity to take in Vale’s game against Crewe, so they will be well-prepared should either of them take to the field against the Vale.
They will no doubt have been impressed with Vale’s second half display and Vale fans will be hoping their side can replicate that for the whole ninety minutes this weekend.
If they can, we could well see the Valiants pick up their first home points of the season, which would give everybody renewed optimism.
Dave Johnson – 6TR