Port Vale (H) Match Preview

We welcome Port Vale to the Abbey on Saturday as United look to put a run of four straight League defeats behind them. A win against Ipswich in the Pizza Cup midweek should have given the U’s that winning feeling again, and with us sitting just four points outside the drop zone, it’s crucial we start to get points on the board again.

It’s been a horrible October, and it could yet get worse as we trek up the A1 to London Road in a weeks time, but before that theres the matter of Port Vale to contend with. Level on points with United, it’s far too early (and overdramatic) to call this a six-pointer, but make no mistake it’s a game that we absolutely need to win.

Mark Bonner is dealing with a bit of an injury crisis at the moment with Dimi Mitov, Brandon Haunstrup and Harrison Dunk all out injured, and doubts hanging over Joe Ironside and Paul Digby, as well as the sad news yesterday that Adam May has ruptured his ACL and will miss the rest of the season. Heal up soon, Adam.

Mannion looks set to start in goal, but and we’re likely to see Ibsen Rossi come back in to the XI, possibly at the expense of Greg Taylor who’s made a number of errors lately. In the middle Lewis Simper looks set to keep his place, probably with Liam O’Neil alongside him if Digby doesn’t recover. Up front we could see Smith more central if Ironside is out, with a possible first League start for Okenabirhie on the cards.

Expected U’s Line-Up: Mannion, Okedina, Ibsen Rossi, Jones, Williams, Simper, O’Neil, Knibbs, Lankester, Smith, Okenabirhie

Who’s In The Dugout? Darrell Clarke. Vale are Clarke’s third EFL managerial appointment, he’s been there since early 2021 after spells at Bristol Rovers and Walsall.

Who’s Their Player To Watch? Irish striker Mipo Odubeko joined on loan from West Ham, and has scored in their last two matches.

What’s Their Recent Form Like? Won 2, Lost 2, Drawn 1 of the last five League games.

Any Ex-United Players? Nope

Last Time Out: Port Vale 0-1 U’s, 27 February 2021.

Wes Hoolahan dribbling the length of the pitch. Liam O’Neil lashing it in from miles outside the area then celebrating with the worst knee-slide you’ve ever seen. God, that was a fun season wasn’t it?

A Matchday Album to Listen To: Arctic Monkeys – The Car

Sheffield’s finest are back with another album of 70’s inspired ballads. If you liked their last one, you’ll love this, as Alex Turner does his best Scott Walker impression.

From The Archive: Port Vale 2-2 U’s, 31 August 1993

Steve Claridge and Michael Danzey on target for the U’s in this 2-2 draw at Vale Park, but the real highlight is those stripy shorts the U’s are wearing.

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