PREVIEW: Wanderers v Port Vale

Wanderers return to League One action as manager Ian Evatt reaches 150 games in charge of the Whites.

After securing a place in the Wembley final of the Papa Johns Trophy in mid-week, Evatt’s men go looking for League One points again to bolster their top-six place.

The Whites will be looking for a sixth successive home win against a Vale side sitting in mid-table.

Manager quotes:

Ian Evatt: “I just think probably now until the rest of the season we just label every game as important. They’re all big ones and all important.

“We’ve got a hell of a lot to play for, which is great credit to the players and this is another big game.

“The players are fully focused. We had a meeting on Thursday morning and spoke about how proud I am that they’ve managed to achieve it (reach the final).

“But for now, that’s parked. The time for that game will come. We’ve got more than enough time to prepare for that in between the league campaign.

“For now, it’s about focusing on what we need to do in the league and that starts on Saturday with Port Vale.”

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Port Vale manager Darrell Clarke:

“They are on a high. They are winning football matches  and going to Wembley.

“They are a good side. They have been in the top six for the majority of the season. They are trying to chase down those automatic places and I would expect them to finish in the top six.

“No doubt it will be a good atmosphere, we’ll take plenty of fans up there and we’re looking forward to the occasion.

“We will try and win the game. We won’t be going up there to soak up pressure. We want to get after teams like we do."

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Team news:

Wanderers are set to have midfielder Kyle Dempsey and forward Cameron Jerome back from the injuries that kept them out of the mid-week Trophy win.

Dan Nlundulu is also fit to return after a month out with a hamstring injury and is available along with fellow forwards Shola Shoretire and Victor Adeboyejo, who were also cup-tied for the victory at Accrington Stanley.

Defender George Johnston is also progressing well from the ankle injury that has kept him out for five games but is not yet ready to return.

Form guide:

Wanderers go into the game on the back of a five-match winning home run.

The Whites, who suffered a first defeat in six matches at Wycombe last weekend, are also unbeaten in League One at the University of Bolton Stadium since the end of October.

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They last let in a home goal at the start of December – a run of nine games without conceding – and kept a clean sheet in the reverse fixture in a 0-0 draw at Port Vale on a red-hot August afternoon after playing for almost an hour with 10 men following the controversial dismissal of Ricardo Almeida Santos.

Vale lost 1-0 at Morecambe last Saturday and have been beaten in three of their last four games.

The 12th-placed Valiants beat Exeter City a fortnight ago in their only win since a 3-1 victory at Forest Green Rovers on New Year’s Day.

That was one of five away wins this season – including victories at top-six sides Derby and Plymouth.


Referee: Will Finnie

Assistant referees: Daniel Woodward, Lisa Rashid

Fourth official: David Avent


Saturday 3pm


Tickets are still available with details of how to purchase HERE


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