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Match Previews

Preview: Imps Host Port Vale

25 November 2017

The Imps take on Neil Aspin's Port Vale in the first meeting between the two sides since 2011. Here we take a look at the Valiants' form, the manager, previous meetings between the two sides, and our 'one to watch.'

Last six league games

The Valiants had been in good form in their previous five outings, until Tuesday night's heavy loss to Mansfield Town at Vale Park. They have picked up 10 points from their last six games, leaving them eighth in the Sky Bet League Two form guide.

The form all started to pick up following the appointment of Gateshead boss Neil Aspin on October, 4th. 

They picked up a 3-0 victory away at Jim Bentley's Morecambe, thanks to a brace from October's Player of the Month, Tom Pope, with Christian Montano putting the final gloss on the victory in injury time.

Aspin's side followed that up with an impressive 1-0 victory at high-flyers Exeter City, again thanks to frontman Tom Pope's effort.

They were brought down heavily at home to Swindon Town, as they lost 3-0 to their Wiltshire opponents.

After causing an upset at home to Oxford United in the Emirates FA Cup winning 2-0, and a 4-2 Checkatrade Trophy win over Crewe Alexandra, it was up to Anton Forrester to secure a 1-1 draw in their return to league action at Newport County on a Friday night under the lights at Rodney Parade.

They continued their fine start to November with a 1-0 win at Vale Park over Barnet, again thanks to forward Tom Pope, before losing 4-0 at home to Mansfield Town on Tuesday night.

However, Danny Cowley spoke in Thursday's Press Conference saying his analysis of the game was that Aspin's side were very unfortunate to lose by such a margin. 

The gaffer

Neil Aspin was appointed as Vale's new manager at the beginning of October, following the departure of former boss Michael Brown in September with the club bottom of the EFL. 

He has improved their league position, as Vale sit 21st in the table, although they are just a point off the drop zone.

Aspin played over 400 times as a player for Port Vale having joined from Leeds United in 1989.

Having previously had successful spells in Non-League management with Harrogate Town, FC Halifax Town and Gateshead, Aspin was given his first opportunity in the league with his former employers during his playing career.

What Aspin had to say about the Imps

During his Press Conference on Thursday, Aspin was questioned by the local media about Danny Cowley's men.

"They’re a difficult team to play against, very organised and they play in a way where everybody knows their jobs.

“That will be what we’re up against on Saturday and they’re also getting big crowds there now, so there will be a good atmosphere. They’ve obviously improved the quality from last season and they’ll be looking to kick on and get promotion again."

Previous meetings

Port Vale, or Burslem Port Vale as they were initially known, first met the Imps in 1892 where our opponents ran out 4-3 winners, before City reversed the result later that calendar year.

During this century, there hasn't been many league meetings between the two sides. Vale ran out winners in an LDV Vans Trophy game in 2001, with a 2-0 win at Sincil Bank. 

The two sides were drawn against each other in the FA Cup First Round in 2006, with Vale winning 2-1 at home. Lee Frecklington was on the scoresheet for the Imps that day.

City and Port Vale faced each other in the league in 2008, the first league meeting since 1984. Both sides won 1-0 away from home in the 2008/09 season, with Dany N'Guessan the match winner for the Imps at Vale Park.

The last time Port Vale came to Sincil Bank, the Imps came away with a 1-0 victory thanks to a late goal from Ashley Grimes.

Lincoln wins: 30

Draws: 22

Port Vale wins: 31

One to watch

Experienced forward Tom Pope is one for City fans to keep their eye on. He won the Player of the Month award for October, and has already scored eight league goals this campaign, putting him amongst the league's top scorers. 

The big centre-forward re-joined the Club this summer following his exit from Bury, having scored 66 goals in a four year spell prior to joining Gigg Lane. 

The 32-year-old has scored 115 goals throughout his career which begun with Crewe Alexandra in 2006, before moving to Rotherham United, and then Port Vale.

Tom Anderson is currently on loan at Port Vale from Burnley, having had a loan spell at Sincil Bank in 2014.


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