Vale were handed the toughest possible introduction to the League, after being promoted as Champions last season. Starting with an away fixture at relegated Blaydon, who if reports are to believed are planning to follow Huddersfield and the Hoppers, in making their stay at this level a very short one.
More worrying will have been last weekend’s defeat to Wilmslow, who were promoted with them after winning a play off, having themselves been beaten in injury time at home to Kirkby in their opening fixture.
Whilst Vale will not need an extra incentive, I am sure they will be very keen to get back to winning ways, to become the fourth team in five seasons, to retain their position in the league after coming up as Champions, whilst we need to build on the excellent performance at Kirkby, by turning position and possession into more points.
Hopefully there will be a bit more scoring than the last time we met. The report is well worth a read. It was during my short sabbatical from rugby, and was written by the comedy double act of Frank and Steve. A bit of a different style, but it certainly made me smile !
TEAM : Up front the only change sees New Zealander Kirk Chettleburgh come in for Chris Downham, who went off injured last weekend. Kirk caught the eye several times last weekend after coming on just before half time.
In the backs Dini Noyo returns to fullback, where he played at Ilkley and moved early last week when Zane Butler was forced off, and certainly made the most of it in the second half. Mark Carruthers comes into the centre, in place of Danny Barker. The coaches clearly agree with my view that we needed to find a place for Ben Dixon in the team. Not sure I had expected it to be on the wing, somewhere we started the season with plenty of choice, but early injuries have reduced them.
Four are currently named on the bench.
WEATHER : The forecast is rain but hopefully getting better for the game