Date: 21st September 2018 at 3:30pm
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Tomorrow afternoon sees one of the most eagerly anticipated games of the season as Crewe Alexandra host local rivals Port Vale at the Alexandra Stadium. The hosts come into the game with 8 games without defeat at home in all competitions, not conceding a goal at home in the league this season, whilst the visitors haven’t won on the road all year in the 16 games they have played away from Vale Park (obviously we all know what that means…and I’m sorry if it does).

So far this season they have 3 victories, 1 draw and 4 losses in the league. They have beaten Cambridge United, Crawley Town and Northampton Town (all at Vale Park) with the only draw coming a couple of weeks ago at Forest Green Rovers. 4 defeats in 5 games against Colchester United, Carlisle United, Tranmere Rovers and Newport County saw the Valiants towards the bottom of the table before the Forest Green and Northampton games see Vale sit directly above the Alex, albeit having played a game more. In the EFL Cup, they lost 4-0 at home to fellow League 2 club Lincoln City whilst the first of their EFL Trophy games takes place in a couple of weeks.

Looking back in the archives, the two teams have met 78 times with Port Vale leading the head-to-head with 35 wins to 20 with 23 draws. Crewe’s biggest win came in their first home game against the Vale with a 5-0 victory in November 1892 whilst Vale’s biggest win came in August 1978 as the score finished 5-1 at the Alexandra Stadium. In last season’s fixtures Chris Dagnall scored the only goal in the league game at Vale Park, Lewis Reilly scored twice in his full debut in a 4-2 defeat in the EFL Trophy and Charlie Kirk scored a last-minute equaliser in a 2-2 draw at the Alexandra Stadium in April.

Who are the officials for the game?

The officials for this game see Darren Drysdale as the man in the middle where he is assisted by Marvyn Amphlett and Helen Byrne with Abbas Khan being the fourth official. During the last 5 seasons, the following Crewe games have been refereed by Drysdale:

  • Crewe Alexandra 2-1 Carlisle United (1st January 2014) – Aneke, Mesca
  • Doncaster Rovers 3-2 Crewe Alexandra (12th December 2015) – Haber, Saunders

I asked Port Vale supporter Lucas Weatherby for his thoughts going into the game.

What do you think of Port Vale’s transfer activity over the summer?

Decent considering, and a foundation for the future. I think we are still lacking some much needed pace – especially out wide. With about 15 players coming in it’s going to take some time for Aspin to work out what’s best and take us forward.

What do you think the team will be for Saturday’s game?

Brown, Rawlinson, Clarke, Legge, Smith, Joyce, Worrall, Hannant, Okeyele, Miller, Pope

Who would you say is the one player that we should look for in the Vale team?

Okeyele. He looks especially good for us when he’s played and hopefully can stay fit.

After a couple of seasons where there has been many changes in terms of playing and coaching staff, do you feel that the constant chopping and changing is holding the club back or do you think there are more important factors during Norman Smurthwaite’s time at the club?

I think that’s all Norman’s fault any way you cut it. He over promised at the start and under delivered for too long. What’s holding the club back is Norman. His over inflated view of what the club is worth given the position we are in now is holding us back when we need investment and stability in the playing side.

Who do you think will be promoted and relegated at the end of the season?

Promoted: MK, Exeter, Oldham, Lincoln
Relegated: Morecambe, Macclesfield