Date:Friday March 8 2013
Vale will be eager to return to winning ways and ease the increasing tension among supporters regarding their current form when they entertain Southend United tomorrow.
The Valiants have only won once in their last six games and failed to score in four of those matches. The fluid attacking play so evident in the early months of the season has all but dissipated. However, results, and not performances are very much the order of the day, so three points on Saturday will be most welcome.
Tuesday night`s 0-0 draw with Bradford City saw an improvement in performance, but with the chasing pack rapidly closing in on the automatic promotion spots that Vale have occupied for so long, now is the time for Micky Adams` men to find form.
Southend still harbour hopes of making the play-offs themselves. The Shrimpers currently sit in eighth spot, but realistically will need to collect all three points in the Potteries with Fleetwood Town seven points ahead of them. That may be beneficial to the Vale who have struggled over the last couple of months to break down stubborn opposition at Vale Park. Paul Sturrock`s men may also face the distraction of their up-coming Johnstone`s Paint Trophy Final next month. With promotion rivals Burton Albion and Cheltenham Town playing each other this weekend, a win will provide some much needed breathing space.
Vale boss Micky Adams remains confident despite the Valiants` poor run of form. He told the Vale Official site: "I thought we looked a little bit brighter going forward on Tuesday night and we certainly had chances to win the game, so that will come.
"We approach this stage of the season where there is ten games to go, with thirty points possible. We need to keep the points tally ticking over, whether it is a point or three points.
"We need to concentrate on ourselves and keep doing all of the things that we believe in, because we have got to where we are because of that process."
Former Vale defender Luke Prosser told the Southend Official Site that he was relishing his return to Vale Park:
"I do still look out for Port Vale`s results because they gave me a start in football and I really appreciate that."
"I didn`t get in at Tottenham and was offered a YTS at Port Vale. I moved away from home and that`s where it really began. I enjoyed my time there and have some very good memories but that`s in the past now."
"They aren`t on a very good run themselves at the moment and seem to be struggling a little bit. We`ve not been playing at our best but if we can reach a good standard on Saturday we can definitely pick up three points."
"We look forward to playing the big teams, they are a big club and it`s going to be a good game."
"I always look forward to facing the best players, and Tom Pope is one of them - he`s a very good striker so will be difficult to deal with."
Micky Adams is awaiting news on major fitness doubts Daniel Jones and Richard Duffy. With the pair likely to be ruled out through injury the Vale boss faces a selection headache, as Doug Loft, who could have filled in at left back, is ruled out through suspension. Ryan Burge may replace him in midfield.
Possible Team: Neal, Yates, Purse, Chilvers, Taylor, Myrie-Williams, Griffith, Burge, Vincent, Dodds, Pope.
Despite enduring a barren spell which has seen League Two`s top scorer go eight games without a goal, Pope will be eager to mark his 100th appearance for his boyhood team by resuming his scoring feats.
Paul Sturrock has endured an injury crisis over recent times and could remain without the injured Mark Phillips, Chris Barker, ex Vale loanee Marc Laird and prolific striker Gavin Tomlin.
Possible Team: Smith, Clohessy, Straker, Cresswell, Prosser, Leonard, Bilel, Mayor, Hurst, Lund, Hurst, Assombalonga.
Vale will need to keep an eye out for striker Britt Assombalonga, who is on loan from Championship side Watford. The Zaire born forward has already scored 13 goals in what is his first season of League football.
Southend 0 Vale 0
Neither side could find the breakthrough, although Southend striker Gavlin Tomlin came closest for the home side, hitting the woodwork and twice being denied by Vale keeper Chris Neal.
Last 5 games:
Vale 0-0 Bradford City
Oxford United 2-1 Vale
Vale 0-2 Exeter City
Torquay United 0-1 Vale
Vale 0-1 Morecambe
Southend 1-1 Rotherham
Barnet 2-0 Southend
Wycombe 1-2 Southend
Southend 2-2 Leyton Orient (JPT)
Southend 1-2 Northampton Town
DARREN SHELDRAKE Peter Gooch and Jonathan Hunt Fourth Official Marc Perry
Tom Pope returns to goal scoring ways as Vale win 2-1.
Bristol Rovers (a) 12/03/2013 7.45pm
Date:Friday March 8 2013
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