Scouting report: Port Vale

A closer look at the Valiants ahead of their maiden visit to Macron Stadium

Ahead of Wanderers' meeting with Port Vale, takes a closer look at Bruno Ribeiro’s side…

Now amidst their fourth consecutive season in English football’s third tier, Saturday’s visitors Port Vale have certainly made the right impression during the opening months of the campaign.

Having finished ninth, 18th and latterly 12th in the Sky Bet League One standings since returning to the division in 2013, their exploits last term ultimately led to the departure of then-manager Rob Page.

A man who had been in charge at Vale Park for just over a year-and-a-half, the club decided to take a completely different route by appointing their first ever manager from the continent in the form of Portugal-born Bruno Ribeiro. 

It has certainly been a move that has reaped dividends so far, with Vale sitting pretty in seventh in the Sky Bet League One table having collected 22 points from their opening 15 games.

Winning six, drawing four and losing just five of their outings so far, they are currently just a solitary point shy of the play-off positions and will be hoping to build on their solid start throughout the remainder of the season.

Reflecting on their cup exploits, they exited the Capital One Cup at the first round stage after being defeated 2-1 by Carlisle back in August.

In the Checkatrade Trophy meanwhile, they are still in with a chance of progressing to the knockout stages of the competition having beaten Derby County’s youngsters and lost at home to Mansfield with their fate to be decided with a clash at Doncaster Rovers next Tuesday evening.

Looking back to their league efforts however and specifically today’s trip to Macron Stadium, this afternoon’s clash is the first domestic meeting between the two sides in 16 years with the Whites running out 2-1 winners on Vale’s last visit to BL6 in March 2000.

A fixture which Wanderers also hold the upper hand in in regards to victories with 22 as opposed to Vale’s two in all competitions however, both sides will be going all out for victory to maintain their respective positions in the division’s upper echelons.

  • L 1-0 – Mansfield H - Checkatrade Trophy, 4/10/2016 
  • W 1-0 – MK Dons A - Sky Bet League One, 9/10/2016 
  • L 4-0 – Sheffield United A - Sky Bet League One, 15/10/2016 
  • D 1-1 – Charlton Athletic H - Sky Bet League One, 18/10/2016
  • D 2-2 – Oxford United H - Sky Bet League One, 22/10/2016 
Appointed manager of Port Vale in the summer of 2016, Ribeiro wasted no time in making his mark with the Valiants as he signed an influx of players from across England and beyond in a bid to turn this afternoon’s visitors into contenders in Sky Bet League One this term. 

A man who is no stranger to English football having enjoyed stints with both Leeds United and Sheffield United during his playing days, the former midfielder also plied his trade for the likes of Vitoria Setubal, Beira-Mar and Santa Clara before hanging up his boots in 2010. 

Since then meanwhile, the 41-year-old has managed a number of clubs including Vitoria, Farense, Pinhalnovense and Ludogorets Razgrad before moving to England back in June.

Joining Port Vale on loan from parent club Birmingham City back in August until January, Jones has certainly wasted no time in settling into life with the Valiants. 

Boasting eight goals to his name in Sky Bet League One this term, his first efforts came in a 3-1 victory over Scunthorpe United back in August and he has continued his fine form ever since to earn the tag of Vale’s leading goalscorer. 

The forward actually started his career with West Bromwich Albion having been born in Sutton Coldfield, eventually turning professional with the Baggies in 2014. Unable to make a senior appearance for the Hawthorns outfit however, he moved to Birmingham City last summer although as of yet, he hasn’t turned out for the Blues’ first team. 

He did however enjoy a loan spell with Grimsby Town last season and since being with today’s visitors, has been nominated for the division’s Player of the Month award for August and September.

LAST PORT VALE STARTING XI (v Oxford United, D 2-2)
Alnwick, Streete, Mac-Intosch, Tavares, Cicilia, Foley, Thomas, Smith, Taylor, Grant, Hart

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