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Match Previews

Match Preview: Port Vale v Posh

2 February 2017

Tim Stoodley looks ahead to Saturday's trip to Port Vale.

Peterborough United look to put a sub-standard January behind them as they hit the road once again. This time their League One journey takes them to Stoke-On-Trent and Vale Park, the home of Port Vale. The pair couldn't be separated in the reverse of this tie, but both sides have a lot more at stake, since that 2-2 stalemate back in September.

The Valiants are drudged in a battle for survival and sit just five points from safety in the depths of the division. With Posh, their journey to the play-offs is taking the scenic route and they'll be desperate to re-track the promotion train.

Vale are four games without a win and are currently without a first-team manager after Bruno Ribeiro resigned from the post in December. Caretaker Michael Brown remains in charge of the side and has tried his hand at steadying a ship during rough seas. Unfortunately for him he's only managed a single win in his five games in charge. Brown remains odds-on favourite to land the role permanently, with Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbaink and former Cobblers boss Rob Page also in the running.

One thing that is certain with Michael Brown, is his management style. He's a traditional football mind, favouring a stout 4-4-2, with a simple, direct approach. They gave promotion-hopefuls Scunthorpe a good run for their money in a narrow 3-2 defeat last time out, and proved that the express approach works well with the right players.

One such player is experienced midfielder Sam Foley. The 30 year-old has been an inspiration in his two years at Vale Park. He's adept to providing assist-after-assist and is quite happy to chip in with a goal as well. He notched six last campaign. Foley operates on the left wing or in the middle and has good dribbling, passing and ball control skills. He's also an intelligent player, but he lacks the natural pace shown by others in his position.

Rigino Cicilia is the main attacking threat for The Valiants. The Curacaoan-born attacker is a massive unit at a whopping 6' 5" - no points for guessing which Posh defender will be on marking duty for this goal-threat! That said, Cicilia is better known as a poacher, rather than a target man. He lacks the ability to hold up the play but works well in Browns' 4-4-2, owing to his natural capacity to find the back of the net.

Michael Bostwick joined the long-term injury list this week. His broken jaw looks set to keep him out for around a month. Both Andersons (Jermaine and Harry) are still out, whilst fellow long-term injured Jack Baldwin nears a return to fitness. New signings Craig Mackail-Smith and Anthony Grant can both feature after their deadline-day deals and don't be surprised to see McCann make changes following the dire derby-day defeat to MK Dons.

In charge of this one is Charles Breakspear, a name familiar with Poshies, as Mr Breakspear took charge of the blues as recently as December. He had the whistle when Posh thumped Charlton 0-2 at The Valley. Michael Bostwick and Chris Forrester seeing yellow that day. He also officiated Posh in November too, so will be very familiar with the Posh line-up this campaign. The November game was the 0-2 defeat against Scunthorpe at The ABAX. Baldwin, Coulthirst and Edwards seeing yellow in that one. Breakspear was last at Vale Park back in February 2016, when he officiated a dull 0-0 between The Valiants and Fleetwood. He's averaged 4 bookings-a-game in the 26 matches he's ruled this season, and he's shown red on five occasions.

Posh haven't managed a win against Vale since September 2014, when goals from Maddison, Payne and Vassell secured a 3-1 home win. In the four games since then, Vale have triumphed twice, with the other two ties ending as draws. Overall Vale also boast the better record - The teams have battled on 50 occasions, with Vale winning 18 and Posh 16. How Posh would love tie 51 to go in their favour!

Vale Park is a surprisingly big and modern affair for a League One outfit. It can fit nearly 19,000 fans inside and is a decent mix of modern and old. Poshies will be located in the Signal End Stand for this one, a stand which is famed for its good acoustics. This means a relatively small number of fans can make a big noise to cheer on their team.

Fans travelling by car are in luck, there's a massive car park in the superstore next to ground, where parking is available for just £5. The Post Code to use is ST6 1AW.

Fans travelling by train aren't quite so lucky. The nearest station, Longport Railway Station, is a solid 30 minutes walk away and is not well served by trains. The advice from the Staffordshire club is to use the main station in Stoke-On-Trent, which is four miles away, and then taxi to the ground. Planning is definitely required here.

The long slog from train station is rewarded inside the ground though. A famous Wrights pie will set you back just £2.50 (Steak or Meat & Potato) and a brew just £1.50 - that's a whole pound cheaper than the average for League One.

Fancy washing the pie down? Well there's limited choices in and around the ground. Just outside the turnstiles there is a bar called Vale Social, which does admit away fans for a price of £2 each. Otherwise there's just one option in town, and that's the Bulls Head. All other pubs do display signs saying 'Home Fans Only', so don't expect to be welcome here.

The key figures:

League positions; Port Vale - 18th Peterborough United - 9th

Last five; Port Vale - WDLDL Peterborough United - LLWLL

Previous meeting; 10/09/2016 (Sky Bet League One) - Peterborough United 2-2 Port Vale

Average attendances (2015/16); Port Vale - 4,993 Peterborough United - 5,447

Top Scorer (league); Port Vale - Remie Street & Rigino Cicilia (4) Peterborough United - Gwion Edwards & Tom Nichols (7)

Tickets for this one are priced as follows;

Adults - £22
Seniors 62+ - £17
Under 22s - £17
Under 18s - £10
Under 9s - FREE

Tickets are now available on the day from the away ticket kiosk outside the away fans turnstiles. Family packages are also available.




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