Marcus Braddock looks ahead to this evenings Leasing.com Trophy trip to Vale Park
Tonight we face Port Vale in the ever-popular Football League Trophy, sponsored by Leasing.com. It's our first fixture in the competition this season and we've been grouped together with Macclesfield, Newcastle United under23's and Port Vale, in the Northern Section. Vale has had a decent enough start to the season and sit in tenth place after two wins, three draws and a defeat, giving them nine points.
Manager John Askey made a fair few changes in the closed season with over twenty players moving in or out, including Kieran Kennedy who Askey also signed for us last closed season. Two of his new signings top the Vale scoring chart, midfielder David Amoo and forward Richard Bennett with a couple of goals each.
Bennett arrived from non-league football a couple of seasons ago after Carlisle signed him on a free from Barrow and were repaid with 12 goals in all competitions. By contrast, midfielder Amoo started as a Liverpool trainee and has never played outside the football league apart from a spell with Partick Thistle. He arrived during the closed season from Cambridge where he scored seven times in 67 games including sub appearances.
Head to Head
We've played the Valiant's 64 times and have won 20 to Vales 16 with 18 ending as draws. Our most recent meeting was last season in this competition with the game ending in a 1-1 draw at Vale Park. Vale won the resulting penalty shoot-out by 4 goals to three. Before that we played in the previous seasons version of this competition but that time we won and eventually made it to the final.
Town’s two new strikers won’t be available, as they didn't sign in quite enough time to play in this game. We have a few injuries, which makes predicting the line-up quite difficult.
John Askey may also make changes to give his squad players more game time.
A game against Vale can't is discussed without mentioning the fact that the Vale manager started last season with us. I thought he was particularly unlucky with the timing of his appointment. He had a great deal of expectation to swim against and had his seasons plans thrown into chaos when the lynchpins of his team were unsettled, days before the season by his predecessor. Had that not happened, no doubt things would have been different but its all water under the bridge now. Askey ended up at a club where he had a long-lasting affinity with and both Vale and Town are in the top half of their divisions.
Tonight's game is difficult to call with both teams set to make changes. It could go either way but we should have the better chance of winning given our higher league status. However, that gap can be breached with a decent performance so we should take nothing for granted.