THERE has been another week of controversy at Blundell Park this week after the departure of Marcel Cas, but how will the players respond to this? And, can they produce another improved performance, this time away at Port Vale.
Brian Horton (left) Very experienced manager who celebrates his fifth year in the Vale hotseat. Horton has managed Machester City, Oxford Utd, Brighton, Huddersfield and the enemy that is - Hull City. Despite much criticism from the fans at times, Horton has managed to stabilise the club in recent years, and despite financial problems, has guided the team to the top of the second division table this season.
Austrian midfielder Andreas Lipa signed for the club this summer on a free transfer from Graz AK. The 32 year old 6 foot 2 midfielder has made 24 appearances for the Valiants so far this season. One of Vales key players is Stephen Mcphee (left), who has been subject of transfer specualtion about a move to big spending Wigan Athletic. He is the clubs top scorer with 12 goals - a big improvement on last seasons return of just three. At just 22, the Scotsman clearly has a lot to offer and if he scores more goals this season, he would no doubt be subject to even more transfer speculation. Former Derby County midfielder Marc Bridge-Wilkinson whom once had a trial with Town under Alan Buckley, is a tricky left sided midfield player who returned to the side in the midweek win against Blackpool. Has made just 7 starts this season, but is proven quality at this level.
The Mariners have quite a lot of injury worries ahead of Saturdays match. Michael Boulding has missed some training sessions this week with a tight hamstring, but will play, as probably will Darren Mansaram and Alan Pouton who have been nursing sore backs.
It has been revealed that Aidan Davison has not been training for some weeks with a knee injury, but he will play through the pain barrier. Though manager Paul Groves might think about putting young keeperâ€™ Andy Pettinger on the bench.
Tony Crane will sit out again through suspension.
Definitely out is midfielder Stuart Campbell who will have an MRI Scan on his knee next week. Also expected to miss out is Darren Barnard who injured his calf last weekend.
The good news is that Jason Crowe is back after suspension and may well go back into the starting lineup in place of Barnard. Elsewhere, except on the bench, Town will probably be unchanged.
Vale manager Brian Horton is expected to keep faith with the side that won 2-1 against Blackpool in midweek, meaning that Marc Bridge Wilkinson keeps his place in midfield after being recalled last week.
Probable Starting XI's
Marc Bridge Wilkinson
Ex Town record signing Tommy Widdrington (left) spent two and a half years at Vale Park immediately after leaving the Mariners. A Â£300,000 signing from Southampton by Brian Laws, Widdrington failed to fill the void left by Paul Groves though did stay at Blundell Park for a further two season, making over 80 appearances for the Club. Following his spell with Vale, he played for Hartlepool in their promotion last season until his release in the summer. He now plays for John Askeyâ€™s Macclesfield Town in division three.
Last Time Out
The first home game of this season was against Port Vale when Town crashed to a 2-1 defeat. A sloppy game, where the Mariners started brightly and took the lead, but were pegged back after Iain Anderson was controversially sent off for using his elbow - making him the third Town player sent off in a week.
Town Team: Davison, Cas, Ford, Crane, Barnard, Crowe (Rowan, 80), Campbell, Hamilton, Anderson (sent off 45), Boulding (Mansaram, 72), Ten Heuvel (Groves, 45) Subs: (not used) Edwards, Pettinger,
Goals: Boulding (39)
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