Marcus Braddock previews tomorrow's final pre-season friendly against Port Vale
This weekend sees Shrewsbury Town play their last friendly game before the big kick off next weekend. We visit Port Vale after a difficult season where they avoided relegation to the conference by one point. We last played them in the season before when we were both battling to stay in League One. Two points separated us that season and since then we've had completely different experiences almost two divisions apart. Although our rise was the biggest surprise for us last season, I was surprised to see the Valiant's not push back into League One and was a little shocked to see them so close to the bottom of the League. Things are starting to look up for them though with a dozen or so new signings from manager Neil Aspin.
We Meet Again
It was good to see that Louis Dodds had found his way back to Port Vale after his short spell with Chesterfield. I was a little disappointed to see him go as I'd always been an admirer when I'd seen him play for Vale. Sadly he didn't really fit into the system we were using and he was too good to not be playing. Tyrone Barnett is another ex Shrewsbury man now based in Burslem with Vale. The ex-Peterborough man arrived in Shrewsbury halfway through the 2014/5 season and scored some very important goals whilst he was here. A hard-working striker who never seemed to get the quantity goals he deserved. He's played for Southend and Wimbledon since leaving us and Joined the Valiant's in July of 2017. Vale midfielder David Worrall also played for us, on loan from West Brom in 2009 and looked a decent young player. His career since then has seen him play for some good clubs and interestingly he's scored at every club since his 12 appearances for Town.
Although I can find no consistent record of friendly games between Port Vale and Shrewsbury Town, we have played quite a few competitive games against each other. Our most recent game was in last seasons Football League Trophy on December 5th. We ended up winning that game 2-1 which is how our last league game ended up too, a 2-1 away win in March of the previous season. The last time Port Vale beat Shrewsbury was in October 2015, a 2-0 win in League One. In total, 53 games have been played between Shrewsbury and Port Vale with Town winning 16 league games to Vales 14. In the F.A. Cup, Vale have had the better of things with two wins from our four games compared to our one win.
Sam Jones has picked up a calf strain but apart from that, Town are injury free.
This is our second “Derby” game in two games although not a particularly local one. Hopefully it wont have the animosity of a proper Derby game because I'm sure neither team could do with that sort of excitement and the potential injuries that would bring. I was quite pleased by our performance in the second half of the Telford game, our midfield seemed to click and I hope we can see that happen again in the Potteries. John Askey says he will know his first team on Monday with Saturday having a bearing on that but not too much. This could hint that he has a fair idea of the majority of his starters for next weekend. So could this game be the one for squad players to stake a late claim in?