Saturday 24th March 2012 – Kickoff: 1500hrs
Second placed Torquay United take on mid-table Port Vale at Plainmoor on Saturday as the hosts look to put some daylight between them and fourth placed Southend United in their bid for automatic promotion.
The Gulls had been on a five match unbeaten run prior to their midweek loss at runaway League Two leaders Swindon Town, so they’ll no doubt be keen to be back on home soil and return to winning ways as quickly as possible. Their recent wins were away at Crawley Town, Rotherham United and Burton Albion, with a home win over Aldershot Town and a 2-2 draw with west coast rivals Bristol Rovers.
Torquay’s home record stands at 10-6-3 32/21 and have lost just once at home in their last twelve which was a surprising 1-2 defeat at the hands of Bradford City. But Torquay are a strong outfit on home turf as wins over Swindon Town and Shrewsbury Town will testify.
Leading scorer is Lee Mansell (12 goals, 5 assists) and he has several key players alongside him who are more than capable of creating and scoring; Nicholson (4 goals, 6 assists), O’Kane (5 goals, 8 assists), Howe (9 goals, 5 assists) amongst others.
Barring a miracle, visitors Port Vale have once again blown their chances of at least a play-off place and now seemingly have nothing to play for. They are eleven points ahead of Hereford United and relegation and fifteen points adrift of Oxford United and the last play-off spot.
Despite recent wins over Burton Albion and Hereford United, I’m still to be convinced of their chances for this fixture as these wins were at home and recent away performances have indicated their weaknesses to convert against the stronger teams.
Losses at Crawley Town, Southend United, Cheltenham Town and Oxford United suggest they are some way off of competing against the top seven teams and this should again be the case today. Vale’s away record stands at 7-5-6 27/25, and they do have some dangerous players such as leading scorer Richards (14 goals), Rigg (9 goals, 5 assists), Pope (5 goals, 7 assists) and Dodds (6 goals).
However, Torquay will be desperate to win at home once again and have the motivation and desire to do it. Port Vale will go and enjoy it, but I think the desire of League One football should see Torquay edge this one; 2-1 to Torquay.
Main Pick: Torquay United straight win @ 1.85 Pinnacle
Value Pick: Torquay United AH-1 @ 2.66 Pinnacle