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This Week's Opposition: Port Vale

It was defeat in midweek for a heavily changed Blues side in the Hampshire Senior Cup, but they’ll be looking to record a 3rd consecutive league victory when they take on Port Vale this weekend.

The previous meeting between these 2 teams this season ended in a 1-0 win on the road for Pompey with Dane Scarlett bagging his first ever goal at senior club level.

Now it’s time to take a closer look into a Port Vale side preparing to make their first visit to Fratton Park since December 1999!

MANAGER

The Valiants are managed by 45-year-old Darrell Clarke, who took to the helm in February 2021 after the club paid a compensation fee to his previous employer, Walsall for his services.

The former Salisbury City and Bristol Rovers boss has overseen 119 competitive fixtures since arriving at the club just over 2 years ago, achieving a win percentage of 43.7.

Prior to John Mousinho’s arrival on the South Coast, Clarke was reportedly on the radar to succeed the Cowleys here at Pompey, though he shut those links down pretty quickly, responding with how happy he is at Vale.

ONE TO WATCH

32-year-old veteran forward Matty Taylor moved to Port Vale on a loan deal until the end of the season from Oxford United on Deadline Day back in January.

Taylor, who had scored 6 goals in 29 matches during the first half of the campaign, was reunited with his former gaffer from his Bristol Rovers days to help with an injury crisis up-top.

The former Forest Green and Bristol City striker, who wears the number 20 shirt for The Valiants, scored his first goal for Vale in their 1-1 draw away at Fleetwood a fortnight ago.

TOP SCORER

Former Blues striker Ellis Harrison has scored more goals than any of his teammates so far this season.

The 29-year-old, who spent 3 years at Pompey before moving on to Fleetwood last January, has found the back of the net 10 times in the league this season, though has failed to make an impact in cup competition this term.

Not only is Harrison the club’s leading scorer thus far, he has bagged 2 in his last 4 appearances for the club, most recently last Saturday at home to Burton Albion.

CURRENT FORM

Darrell Clarke’s side currently sit 16th in League One and pretty comfortable too, looking likely to survive in their first year back in the 3rd division since 2017.

Vale have accrued 44 points from their 37 league matches played to date and that has opened up a 9 point cushion to the current highest relegation zone position.

They have, however, recorded just 2 wins from their last 13 attempts and head into this weekend’s fixture off the back of 3 completely different results - a 1-0 victory over MK Dons, a 1-1 draw at Fleetwood and, most recently in their previous outing, a 3-2 defeat at home to Burton Albion last week.

So can the Blues continue to surf on their current wave of momentum and close the gap on them and the top 6, or will Port Vale inflict Pompey a 2nd consecutive home defeat?

All of the unmissable action will be right here on 93.7 Express FM when Pompey Live returns this Saturday (March 25th) from 2pm - Robbie James, Jake Smith and Jay Sadler will be reporting on this match from Fratton Park.

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