Whether you see Vale as our rivals or Vale fans see us as their rivals there is no getting away from the fact it is as close to a derby as either of us will get this season.
Crewe take a trip to Burslem having lost the ‘home leg’ in October 2-1. Vale will be looking to do the double over the Alex for the first time in 13 years and sit in a prime position to do so.
Whilst we’ve languished in the bottom half of the division all season, Vale have been on the rise under Mickey Adams. Currently sitting 11th in the division and five points off the play-offs, Saturday’s match is somewhat of a make or break game.
With 18 goal scorer Marc Richards, the former Alex loanee, up front and a fairly steady defence, Saturday’s match will be a tough test for the Alex.
Dario & the side faced criticism following October’s derby defeat after a physical Vale were not only allowed to kick us off the pitch but also seemed to be more motivated ahead of the game.
Saturday’s game is arguably the only meaningful game left in our calendar. With the play-offs beyond us and relegation all but a mathematical impossibility, it is pure pride at stake this weekend. If nothing else, a chance to end Vale’s hopes of a play-off push.
Ahead of this weekend’s game Dario said he knows the supporters feelings, saying he sees Vale as our real local rivals.
‘For me, only when we faced a team from the Potteries does it feel like a real local rivalry.
‘I expect them to be physical and to play it a bit longer than us, but we have to stand up to that and play our football. It should be a great game again and we all know how much it means to the supporters.’
Meanwhile Vale winger Lewis Haldane is hoping his side can reproduce the 2-1 victory from Gresty Road. He told BBC Radio Stoke:
‘I thought it was one of my best games for Vale. There was a great atmosphere and I hope it will be the same on Saturday.
‘It was a good game up at Crewe. The fans will be up for it and hopefully we can get the three points.’
Tickets for the match are on sale now from Crewe Alexandra.