PREVIEW: Port Vale v Crewe Alexandra

Preview: Vale looking for a win tonight

Vale take on near neighbours Crewe Alexandra this evening in the final group match of the Checkatrade Trophy, with the visitors playing for pride and nothing else.

Tonight’s visitors cannot proceed into the next stages of the competition regardless of the result tonight, whereas things are a little more complicated from a Vale point of view.

A win would guarantee progress for Neil Aspins’ men, but they could still go through after a defeat, or not go through with a draw – it would depend on the outcome of the other group game.

Oldham Athletic take on a young Newcastle United side at Boundary Park tonight, and the result there could have an effect on the Valiants should they not beat the Alex.

Without getting into the nitty gritty of things, suffice to say that the Vale could do with a win to make certain, although the competition is a side-line to Vale’s priority, which simply has to be their League Two standing.

With a League fixture coming up away to Newport County on Friday, boss Aspin will be checking the competition rules carefully before he makes his team selection.

One player definitely ruled out with injury is on loan defender Tom Anderson, while in-form striker Tom Pope is unlikely to be risked, especially after picking up an ankle injury in Friday’s FA Cup win over Oxford united.

The fact that Pope has been nominated for League Two Player of the Month, and his boss Neil Aspin for the Manager of the Month will surprise nobody who knows anything about the club.

Vale’s transformation since Aspin took charge has been there for everybody to see, and Pope has been instrumental in everything positive about the team with his goal input and his willingness to give everything for the team.

Dave Johnson – 6TR

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