Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Match Preview - Spurs v Port Vale (Carling Cup)

Spurs go in to the Carling Cup tie with a perfect home record against Port Vale, played 7 – won 7 (1 League and 1 FA Cup). The clubs haven’t met at White Hart Lane since the 4th Round Cup tie in January, 1955 but the last occasion they met saw 3rd Division Vale humiliate Spurs in 1988. Terry Venables’ team lost 1-2, thirty three years and one day after the previous meeting.

The two most notable players who have played for both clubs are Anthony Gardner who signed from Port Vale in 2000 and Eddie Baily who was transferred to Port Vale in January, 1956 after ten successful years at Spurs.

Following Spurs’ two exciting wins last week, Martin Jol will surely rest many of those players with important games coming up in the next fortnight. Injuries are also causing concern so some of the younger players may have an opportunity – Ifil, Dervite, Charlie Lee and Barcham are in the squad which also includes Steed Malbranque, now recovered from his operation and Lee Young-Pyo who is also fit. Spurs’ strength in depth will be tested with squad players like Davenport, Gardner and Stalteri injured but Mido and Defoe will probably start after their enforced rest and should have the opportunity to remind the manager of their goal scoring talents.

L D D* L W L (* Won on penalties)

Port Vale are currently 13th in Coca-Cola League 1.

On Saturday they lost 1-2 at Crewe to a twice taken injury time penalty. In three home ties, Port Vale have defeated Preston, Q.P.R and Norwich, on penalties, to reach this stage of the competition. Port Vale started the season brightly, winning their first four games but since then, apart from the Cup games, their form has slipped and they have won only three of thirteen games, two of them away from home.

Their leading scorer is Leon Constantine with 10 goals (9 league and 1 Cup) followed by Akpo Sodje on 5 (4 +1). Port Vale can call upon experienced midfielder, Danny Sonner and have Nigerian international defender George Abbey in their team. Vale striker Nathan Lowndes and midfielder Robin Hulbert are both doubtful but defender Mark McGregor could return. Michael Husbands and Luke Prosser are both in the squad.

It is important for Spurs to maintain the euphoria of Sunday’s win and with the right attitude and application will be in the draw for the next round and Spurs would be looking to add to their goal scoring record against Port Vale.

Home League record v Port Vale (2nd Division):

Nov. 1919 Won 2-0
Feb. 1929 Won 4-1

Nov. 1930 Won 5-0

Nov. 1931 Won 9-3 (1st time Spurs scored nine goals in a League game)

Nov. 1932 Won 4-0

Sept. 1935 Won 5-2

FA Cup:

Jan. 1955 Won 4-2


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