A depleted Burnley side travel to Vale Park tonight in the first round of the newly renamed Capital One Cup.
Port Vale v Burnley – 7.45pm – Vale Park – Capital One Cup
Despite missing a host of first team players due to injuries and international call ups, the Clarets will be looking to book a place in the next round against the financially-stricken Valiants.
With Sam Vokes and Martin Paterson away with their respective countries and Danny Ings ruled out with a knee cartilage problem, the responsibility of leading the attack will most likely fall with the in-form Charlie Austin.
With no real indications of a preferred starting XI displayed during pre-season the other starting berths remain relatively unknown with all the summer signings in with a chance of their first competitive appearance.
Marvin Bartley is still sidelined with an ankle injury and Keith Treacy will definitely miss out after withdrawing from the Republic of Ireland squad to face Serbia due to a groin injury.
The home side are expected to be without defender Gareth Owens due to injury which could mean a start for ex-Clarets loanee Richard Duffy who has recently signed for the League 2 outfit.
Summer recruits Darren Murphy, Jennison Myrie-Williams, Ashley Vincent and Chris Neal will all be pushing for starts in what will be a new look Port Vale line up from the one which finished 12th last season.
The Manager: Micky Adams
Now in his second spell with the club, the experienced Micky Adams will be hoping for a stable season after experiencing a whirlwind last couple of years. Flying high with Vale two seasons ago, the former Coventry and Leicester manager was lured to Bramall Lane to manage his boyhood Sheffield United only to endure a disastrous spell in charge. Luckily for Adams his previous employers were more than happy to have him back and but for the ten-point deduction the club encountered last season for entering administration, promotion was a real possibility.
Form: WWLWD [Pre-season]
Vale should come into this game in pretty decent shape having completed a long pre-season schedule which saw them play in a whopping 11 friendlies. Despite the uncertainty surrounding the future of the club, the squad have managed to rack up an impressive nine wins – albeit against inferior opposition, and come into this game full of confidence to pull off an upset.
Dangerman: Tom Pope
With the summer departures of last season’s top scorers; captain Marc Richards to Chesterfield and Sean Rigg to Oxford, Vale’s chances of a successful season rely heavily on the shoulders of striker Tom Pope. Signed from Rotherham in 2011, the 6ft 3 target-man has struggled to find the net regularly for his boyhood club and the supporters will be hoping he can improve on the 5 goals he managed last term. Typically an unselfish player, the striker will be a constant thorn in our defence providing he is supplied with the right aerial delivery.
Just For Fun
Famous Fan: Robbie Williams
The former Take That star is arguably the club’s biggest fan along with a certain darts player with the Taylor surname.