Port Vale (A) Match Preview

United head for Stoke on Saturday, a traditionally unhappy hunting ground, to take on Port Vale and try to secure an important three points in their race for promotion.

It’s a tight league at the moment, with just nine points separating the top ten teams, and many of those below us with a number of games in hand. We reckon United need ten wins from the last 15 games, so it goes without saying that every game is like a cup final from here on in.

Callum Burton is a given in goal, and whilst there’s been talk of dropping Jubril Okedina for Aji Alese or Declan Drysdale, we reckon the Spurs man should keep his place alongside Greg Taylor, where he’s building a fairly decent partnership. Either side of them will be Kyle Knoyle and Harrison Dunk.

It’s in midfield where we expect to see some changes from the side that lost to Cheltenham on Tuesday, although Paul Digby is still out, Hiram Boateng is back, but probably won’t start. We think he’ll revert to a diamond of Drysdale and one of May or O’Neil, with Tracey replacing Hannant to support Hoolahan, giving the team some real attacking intent. Up front we expect Mullin and Ironside to start.

Expected U’s Line-Up: Burton, Knoyle, Okedina, Taylor, Dunk, Drysdale, May, Tracey, Hoolahan, Mullin, Ironside

From the bench we think we’ll see Boateng and possibly Knibbs, but we hope Bonner doesn’t leave his subs too late again.

Who’s Their Player To Watch? Certified dickhead Tom Pope is injured at the moment, as is former U David Amoo, so we’ll keep our eyes out for winger Christian Montano.

Who’s In The Dugout? After John Askey was sacked in January, Darrell Clarke was appointed to replace him. Clarke has previously managed Salisbury, Bristol Rovers, where he gained two promotions from the Conference and League Two, and Walsall before taking charge at Vale Park

What’s Their Recent Form Like? P5, W1, D2, L2, For 7, Against 7

Any Ex-United Players? Leon Legge & David Amoo, both remembered fairly fondly by us here at the Abbey.

Last Time Out: Cambridge 3-1 Port Vale, October 20 2020

A dominant U’s performance, featuring a Wessi masterclass, a Mullin hat-trick and an incredible pass from Hiram Boateng earlier this season.

From The Archive: Cambridge 4-2 Port Vale, April 25 1992

Vintage shirt, vintage U’s performance as Beck’s side crush Port Vale on their way to the playoffs. Worth watching alone for Beck’s bregrudging reaction to Claridge’s assist for the first goal.

UTAS Moosenet Prediction: 2-0 United, Mullin

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