Football – England – League Two
Saturday 19th January 2013 – Kickoff; 1500hrs
Top of League Two Port Vale take on Bradford City who are aiming for a play-off place at Vale Park on Saturday afternoon with the hosts keen to extend their lead at the top of the table.
Port Vale are sitting pretty at the top of the division right now, some nine points ahead of fourth placed Rotherham United and they definitely have automatic promotion well and truly in their own hands this season in what has been a successful campaign so far.
Manager Micky Adams will be keen for his team to continue their recent good form though and even though they have this points buffer, we all know how quickly things can change in football. Recent wins over Rotherham United, Dagenham & Redbridge, Plymouth Argyle and last weekend’s win at Gillingham have underlined Port Vale’s promotion credentials and they fully deserve to be top of the league right now.
Port Vale’s home record stands at 6-4-3 30/15 and despite a couple of recent hiccups where they lost back-to-back home games to Chesterfield and Fleetwood Town, Vale seem to have corrected their course with a 4-0 win over Plymouth last time out at Vale Park.
Striker Tom Pope (24 goals, 8 assists) has been making all the headlines for Vale and rightly so, and he’ll be looking to fire them up into League One on the back of his performances so far. He also has Myrie-Williams, Dodds and experienced campaigner Lee Hughes in attacking positions too so Vale are not short on attacking options.
Bradford City were in the play-off pack only until recently but their form has taken a sudden nose-dive at a crucial period of the season; defeats against Rochdale 2-4, Barnet 0-2 and Oxford United 1-2 along with just a point against Morecambe has resulted in The Bantams dropping out of the top seven, and whilst they’ll no doubt be enjoying their exploits against Aston Villa, I’m sure manager Phil Parkinson would swap potential silverware for promotion up to League One.
Which means they’ll need to pick up something at Vale Park – recent form suggests they’ll face an uphill task of achieving even a point and with an away record of an ordinary 3-5-5 15/20 going into this match, I don’t fancy their chances.
Striker Nakhi Wells (13 goals) is certainly their main threat up front and with Alan Connell (7 goals) sharing the workload, they will certainly cause problems on another day.
I get the feeling that Port Vale now believe they can win promotion following their away win at Gillingham and will not want to let their position at the top fade away, while Bradford are looking to avoid a third successive defeat; it’s a home win here for me but take the generous handicap offered by Pinnacle which will half your loss if Port Vale somehow fail to win.
Pick: Port Vale AH-0.25 @ 1.88 Pinnacle