Date:Friday December 23 2005
Pool start the busy Christmas period with a visit to Vale Park to face Valiants for the first time this season.
“At Port Vale will be another game for us where we can go and play decent football, and if we can get a result there it will set it up nicely for the 28th for the game against Oldham” - Manager Simon Grayson commented on Thursday to the press that the game at Vale Park will give his players the chance to play football on a decent pitch as the home pitch has recently deteriorated.
Vales last league win came in November, beating Southend at home 2-1, since then they have lost three games on the trot to Forrest, Gillingham and last Saturday to Bristol City at home 1-0. But sandwiched in the three loses was the 2nd round F.A. Cup win against Bristol Rovers, which earned them a home fixture against the team that knocked Blackpool out of the Cup, Doncaster.
Vale sit in 16th place in league one, six points ahead of the Seasiders and the relegation zone, but they still have their sights set on a play-off spot, with only eight points separating them from the bottom play-off spot.
Missing for Vale Robin Hulbert - injury.
Back in contention Clayton Fortune – eligible for match, Tony Dinning – Back from Suspension, Mark Innes – injury, Jeff Smith – injury.
Doubts Michael Cummins – injury, Lee Matthews – injury, George Abbey – injury.
The 21-year-old winger this year has been hitting the headlines, not for his form at Port Vale but for his goal which helped Trinidad and Tobago to reach the world cup finals. Birchall, who can play for the Caribbean islanders as his mother was born there scored in the 2-1 win over Bahrain in a two-legged play-off. Recently a goal against Bristol Rovers put the Valiants into the 3rd round of the F.A. cup. His only previous goal this year was against Walsall in Vales 3-2 win at home in October.
Pool will be with out Gary Harkins and Ian Morris who have returned to their respected clubs. But Ciaran Donnelly is available for selection and player manager Simon Grayson has resumed full training. The one doubt for the Seasiders is centre-back Rob Edwards who missed the last game at Swindon due to a thigh strain.
Missing for the Pool Gary Harkins – loan ended, Ian Morris – loan ended, Gareth Evens – knee, Danny Coid – ankle, Jamie Burns – ankle.
Doubts Rob Edwards – Thigh.
Back in contention Ciaran Donnelly - Back from Suspension.
The Scottish striker has recently shown some glimpses of form in recent games and is looking to get his 5th league goal of the season. He last managed a goal in the away game at Gillingham, but then was sent off for raising his arms to an apposing player, a sight which we have seen too often.
After a long lay-off due to suspension and injury the 23-year-old has started the last two league games and after a terrific display against Swindon the pacey forward is due a goal.
The Seasiders faced Vale three times last season, losing 2-0 at home, winning 3-0 away and winning 1-0 when the two sides met at Bloomfield road for a F.A. cup game.
Before the three nil trashing that Pool handed out last year, (scorers that day the departed Scott Taylor and a brace from then loanee Scott Vernon), you have to go back to 1987 in the Old division three the Seasiders hit 6 (six) goals in a 6-1 thrashing at Vale Park.
Referee: Mick Russell (Hertfordshire) - Games: 20 Yellow Cards: 44 Red Cards: 1
Assistant Referees: Russell Fletcher (Derbyshire) and Richard Smith (W Midlands)
Fourth Official: Tony Horton (W Midlands)
Port Vale 1 – 2 Blackpool
Wed 28 19:45 H Vs Oldham Football League 1
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Date:Friday December 23 2005
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