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Match Previews

2015/16 preview - introducing Port Vale FC

9 June 2015

Meet Millwall's League One opponents


Founded: 1876

Stadium: Vale Park

Nickname: The Valiants

Position: 18th in League One

Manager: Former Welsh international defender Rob Page will be starting his first full season as manager at Vale Park having taken charge of The Valiants in October 2014 following a spell as interim boss.

Page enjoyed a successful playing career, earning 41 international caps for Wales. He led Watford to their first season in the Premier League and was voted the club's Player of the Season at the end of their debut campaign in the top flight.

After hanging up his playing boots Page joined Port Vale as youth team coach and was then promoted to first team coach before moving up to the role of assistant manager.

He was made Vale's interim boss last September following the departure of Micky Adams and was quickly installed on a permanent basis barely four weeks later.

Page has already used this summer to reshuffle his backroom staff, bringing in Paul Bodin as his right-hand man whilst seeing coach Mark Grew leave Vale Park after quarter of a century at the club. He also plans to appoint a chief scout, filling a gap left vacant at Vale Park since George Foster departed for Swansea a year ago.

Key Player: Skipper Carl Dickinson joined Vale in the summer of 2013 and quickly established himself as a fans’ favourite with his leadership qualities, tenacity and passion for the game.

Comfortable operating at full-back or in the heart of defence, Dickinson is a vital member of the squad who adds experience, organisational excellence and is a vocal presence on the field.

He started his career with Stoke, with whom he helped win promotion to the Premier League. Restricted to just a handful of appearances in the top flight, he switched to Watford for £250,000 via loan spells with Blackpool Leeds, Barnsley and Portsmouth.

Dickinson made 44 appearances for The Hornets in total but in his second year at Vicarage Road had short loan spells at Portsmouth, for a second time, and then Coventry.

Since arriving at Vale Park in 2013, Dickinson has made over 90 appearances for the club, including 46 during the 2014/15 season. The defender has scored just once for the Valiants so far, netting in a 3-1 away win against Doncaster Rovers early in August 2014.

Top scorer: Tom Pope (12 goals)

Head-to-head: Port Vale have a clear advantage in terms of wins from the previous 46 meetings with Millwall, tasting success on 20 occasions.

The Lions have recorded 15 victories, three of which have come in a less than fruitful past 10 encounters with The Valiants. The remaining 10 matches have been drawn.

Last time we met: Millwall and fellow strugglers Port Vale locked horns for the second time in barely six weeks and on this occasion in February 2008, it was The Lions who claimed three valuable points with a 3-0 success.

In the January match at Vale Park, The Valiants had eased to a 3-1 success, but once Lewis Grabban netted his first goal for Millwall after just 18 minutes in this clash at The Den, there was only ever going to be one winner.

Marc Laird prodded past keeper Joe Anyon following a Dave Martin cross to give Kenny Jackett's side a two-goal advantage at half-time.

Martin completed the scoring himself with a spectacular solo effort on 68 minutes when he weaved his way past four Vale players and smashed the ball into the roof of the net to seal a convincing 3-0 win.

Millwall: Evans, Senda, Robinson, Bignot (Frampton, 71mins), Whitbread, Laird, Martin, Fuseini, Alexander (Forbes, 86mins), Simpson (Brkovic, 77mins), Grabban. Subs not used: Edwards, R.Smith.
Scorers: Grabban (18mins), Laird (44mins), Martin (68mins)

Port Vale: Anyson, Miller, Pilkington, Lowe, Whitaker (Rocastle, 60mins), Herd, Harsley, Howland (Richards, 60mins), Perry, Glover (Cardle, 76mins), Slater. Subs not used: Mulligan, Lawrie.

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