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This Week's Opposition: Port Vale

Photo Credit: Port Vale

The Blues got back to winning ways collecting 3 points on the road against relegation battlers Fleetwood Town last time out, securing a 1-0 win with a controlled performance and a 20-yard shot from Abu Kamara.

With the teams below gathering points and having games in hand, that win proved vital to keep Pompey top of the league, at least for a few days more anyway.

Now another trip on the road sees John Mousinho’s side head to League One opponents Port Vale.

Let's take a closer look at The Valiants now…

MANAGER

The man in the dugout at Vale Park is former player Andy Crosby.

Crosby, who played as a defender, started his career at Leeds United, however he made his senior debut when he joined Doncaster Rovers. After 2-and-a-half seasons with Rovers, he moved to Darlington.

Crosby also played for Chester City and helped Brighton & Hove Albion win theThird Division title in the 2000/01 season. He then moved to Oxford United before making his final career move on a free transfer to Scunthorpe United.

He spent 6 seasons with Scunthorpe, winning promotion to League One and the Championship on 2 occasions. In total, Crosby made 715 league and cup appearances during his 20-year playing career, scoring 43 goals. 

Crosby went on to join the backroom staff at Scunthrope, following manager Nigel Adkins to Southampton, Reading, Sheffield United and Hull City too.

He served as Northern Ireland Under 21s caretaker manager in 2020 and joined the coaching staff at Port Vale in March 2021. Crosby served as Port Vale’s interim boss during Darrell Clarke’s absence at the end of the 2021/22 season and became the permanent manager for The Valiants following Clarke’s sacking in April 2023.

ONE TO WATCH

Our one to watch on this occasion is number 19, Gavin Massey.

Massey is a versatile attacker who can play as a forward or as a winger. He started his career by progressing through the Watford-affiliated Harefield Academy, breaking into the first team in 2010.

Whilst at Watford, Massey was loaned to Wealdstone, Yeovil Town and twice to Colchester United. He went on to join Colchester on a permanent basis, where he made over 150 league appearances.

The 31-year-old joined Leyton Orient in the summer of 2016 before signing for Wigan Athletic a year later. Massey spent five seasons with Wigan, helping them to the League One title in 2018 and 2022.

He also featured in over 50 Championship matches. After being released from The Latics in June 2022, Massey joined Port Vale the following month.

19-year-old creative midfielder Alfie Devine would have been one to keep an eye on, however Tottenham Hotspur exercised their right last week to recall him from his loan spell at Vale Park. He has since gone out on loan to Championship side Plymouth Argyle for the remainder of the season.

TOP SCORER

Attacking Midfielder Ben Garrity is currently the top goalscorer for Port Vale.

Garrity started his professional career with Blackpool at the beginning of 2020 - This transfer from Warrington Town saw Garrity move up 4 divisions to join the League One side.

He went out on loan at Oldham Athletic, making 29 appearances and scoring 2 goals, before making the move to then League Two outfit Port Vale in June 2021.

Garrity was named as the Fan’s Player of the Year, Player’s Player of the Year and Supporter’s Club Player of the Year at the end of Vale’s promotion season to League One.

The 26-year-old has scored 9 league and 2 FA Cup goals for The Valiants so far this campaign.

CURRENT FORM

Andy Crosby’s side currently sit in the bottom half of the table in 18th, having won 8, drawn 6 and lost 11.

Their last 5 games have consisted of 1 win, 2 draws and 1 defeat.

Their most recent game against Wycombe last weekend was postponed due to a frozen pitch at Vale Park and their meeting with Reading the week prior was abandoned due to a pitch invasion at the Select Car Leasing Stadium - Royals supporters were protesting against owner Dai Yongge.

Vale therefore have not been in action since a 3-3 draw at home to Charlton on the 6th of January.

Last season saw The Valiants finish the league in 18th - That was their first season back in the 3rd division following promotion the season prior.

In the reverse of this fixture, the Blues were victorious as Colby Bishop secured a 2-0 win with a brace at Fratton Park.

Can the Blues find the fight to start a new winning streak?

Tune in for all of the unmissable action when Pompey Live returns this Saturday (January 27th) from 2pm.

Kick-off: 3pm!

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