Vale Park is the venue for a vital game at the bottom of League One as Port Vale are set to welcome Cambridge United on Saturday afternoon.
The home side currently find themselves ten points above the relegation zone in 16th place, having amassed 45 points from their 38 league games this campaign. With only eight games left this season, a win here could give the Port Vale faithful reassurance that they will not be drawn into any late relegation scrap.
Port Vale come into this game on the back of a poor run of form that has seen them record one win in their last six league outings. This run has included frustrating defeats against the likes of Burton and Morecambe, who both sit beneath Port Vale in the table.
Last time out, the Valiants held Portsmouth to a draw in a highly entertaining 2-2 draw. After taking a two-goal lead thanks to Matt Taylor and Funso Ojo, Port Vale had to defend for large spells of the game.
Pompey wasted the chance to halve the deficit in the 44th minute as top scorer Bishop saw his tame penalty saved by Aidan Stone. But Bishop made amends midway through the second half by converting from the spot and Pompey drew level just three minutes later when substitute Michael Jacobs found the bottom corner.
Cambridge find themselves in 23rd place in the League One table and are currently seven points behind safety. The U’s come into this game on the back of their worst form of the season which has seen them gain just one point from their last six league outings.
Frustratingly for Cambridge, most of their losses have come in tight games, with seven of their last eight games being decided by a goal or less. Last time out, the U’s were frustratingly beaten 2-1 by Charlton after conceding two goals within the opening half an hour.
This is a worrying pattern for Cambridge as all four goals they have conceded in their past three games have been conceded within the opening half. Mark Bonner will be hoping that his side can start this weekend’s game with high intensity and keep a clean sheet.
This fixture is often a close affair, with four of the last five meetings being decided by a single goal or less. Furthermore, it is often the home side that records a victory, with the home side having won six of the last eight competitive meetings.
It was Port Vale who came out on top of a tight encounter when these sides met in the reverse fixture in October. The only goal of the game came with just over 10 minutes to go after Paul Digby turned the ball into his own net, handing the Valiants a 1-0 victory.
Unsurprisingly, given Cambridge’s recent form, it is the home side that are odds on favourites ahead of this weekend @ 17/20, whilst a rare away win for Cambridge is currently priced @ 3/1 and a draw is priced @ 12/5.
We are backing Port Vale to win and under 2.5 goals in the match because of their superior form heading into this match paired with the fact that the home side typically wins this fixture. We believe that this will be a low-scoring game because four of the last five meetings of these sides have had one goal or fewer.