Swindon Town are back to home comforts of the County Ground this weekend in League Two, as they will entertain a Port Vale side who last won at the County Ground in 2005.
It has been a good week on the pitch for the robins, last outing in league two away at Stevenage. Ben Garner side manage to come away with a late point in a game which they dominated but lacked the cutting edge in the final delivery. Jack Payne stoppage time penalty salvaged Swindon Town unbeaten away record to start of the season.
On Tuesday night under the lights at the County Ground Swindon Town managed to defeat Arsenal u21 side 2-1 in the first game of the group stages of the Football League Trophy. A great start to a tournament in which many fans wont care about. But I feel Swindon Town hierarchy will care a lot about this tournament this season. As it gives opportunities to the younger players who have come in this season to get game time and express themselves. I was in attendance on Tuesday evening and was really impressed with the performance from Swindon Town. Mohammed Dabre really stood out for Swindon in his first start for the club and managed to score on his debut. I feel he could be handy and a weapon to use later in the game against tiring sides, he was very direct and caused the Arsenal u21 defence a lot of problems.
Ben Garner confirmed today in a pre-match press conference that Anthony Grant will not feature against his old side Port Vale. Grant would have to isolate after appearing for Jamacia in WCQ against Mexico and Costa Rica. Jonny Williams is pushing for a start after impressing for Wales in the WCQ and friendlies last week. Kaine Kesler-Hayden has been back with Swindon Town since Wednesday after featuring in England U20 6-1 win over Romania U20 on Monday evening.
Predicted XI vs Port Vale 4-2-3-1
Wollacott, Odiamyo, Conroy, Critchlow, Hunt, Reed, Iandolo, McKirdy, Payne, Williams, Simpson
Port Vale are the visitors to the County Ground on Saturday afternoon and looking for their first win away at Swindon since October 2005. Micky Bell and Chris Cornes were the goal scorers that day, after Rory Fallon opened the scoring. That game will be remembered for a goalkeeping mistake from on loan Manchester United goalkeeper Tom Heaton which gave Port Vale the three points.
Port Vale are 17th in the league two standings after 6 games picking up 6 points from those 6 games. Port Vale started the season with a 1-0 away defeat Northampton. Three draws then followed with two successive 0-0 draws both at home to Tranmere Rovers and Carlisle United. The third draw in the sequence was a 1-1 away draw at Stevenage. The sole win of the season was a 2-0 away win at Forest Green Rovers. After the high of the previous week, the low came the following weekend with a 3-2 home defeat to Rochdale.
Darrell Clarke is the Port Vale manager and has been at the club since February 2021 after John Askey left the club the previous month. His tenure at Port Vale did not start well, Clarke went winless in his first 7 games in charge. Then the fortunes changed as Port Vale then went on winning 8 out of the next 9 games. His record at Port Vale in all competitions is steady. 9 wins, 7 draws and 10 defeats in 26 games in charge. This season, Clarke has been playing with a 3-5-2 formation but has switched to a 4-3-3 formation which was pivotal to his success in winning 6 games in a row and 8 out of 9 at the latter part of last season.
The key player to watch out for in the Port Vale side is striker Jamie Proctor. Signed on a free transfer from League one side Rotherham, Proctor went goalless in his opening 4 games for his new side. But in the last two games he has hit two doubles, got the two goals in a 2-0 away win at Forest Green Rovers and netted twice in the 3-2 home defeat to Rochdale.
Swindon Town will be hoping to keep up this momentum that they have built in the opening month of the season. They have started the season well and exceeded everyone expectations, hoping that they can extend this against a Port Vale side struggling for form and will be looking to finally winning away at Swindon Town for the first time in close to 16 years.
By Scot Munroe