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Thursday, 3 October 2013

The Inside Line: Port Vale (05/10/2013)

Another Saturday and another chance for Bristol City to earn that first win – and perhaps even first clean sheet – of  the league season.  We return to Vale Park for the first time in a number of years, having spent more of recent times looking upwards at Vale’s city neighbours Stoke (I still despise Liam Lawrence for that dive!) than worrying about how Vale are getting on.

Thankfully Stu Radnedge managed to find time ahead of his three-week honeymoon Down Under (congratulations Stu!) to seek out the view of Port Vale Media Manager Dave Johnson, and get the 'inside line' on Saturday’s opponents.

Over to Stu…

Thanks for answering these Dave.  Port Vale were one of the sides who earned promotion from League Two last season. How has a return to the third tier of English football gone for the Vale?
We could see the difference between the two leagues right from day one of the new season. We are still finding our feet, but I think we are adapting well and are starting to improve, however, there is a long way to go yet.

What was it that worked for you last season? And has much changed from last year to this season's squad?
We attacked teams right from the start of the season and it paid dividends as teams didn’t know how to approach games – did they sit back and defend or did they go for it themselves and leave bigger gaps at the back? This season we have had to bring in new players to be able to cope with the step up, but they are starting to gel together.

How do you think your season has gone so far?
I think it has gone as well as to be expected. We were desperately unlucky not to get something at Leyton Orient the other week when even Russell Slade thought we deserved at least a point. We followed that up with a terrific second half performance against a Coventry side who I am sure will surprise a few people this season, despite having ten points docked.

Micky Adams took over after the end of the 2008/09 season.  After guiding you to promotion, what's the view on the boss, is he close to gaining legendary status?
He is fast becoming a legend, that’'s for sure, but he has not quite achieved that as yet. A lot of fans remember the John Rudge days and so Micky has a lot to live up to, on saying that he is certainly moving in the right direction!

Adams, however, is currently away from the club having a hip replacement. Do you think his absence will be felt by the fans and players, or are you confident in the set-up at the club and it being able to continue the form you've shown this year?
That'’s a difficult one, but Micky has put his faith in Rob Page and Mark Grew and is he is happy with that, then I am too. Rob has a lot of new ideas, whilst Mark has bags of experience and their styles could well work well together, but they have already said they are not going to change anything, so with Micky on the other end of the phone if they need him, I think it will be a case of ‘as you were’.

As I'm sure you're aware, there was a lot of female interest in Doncaster Rovers during the summer following the signing of a One Direction member.  Robbie Williams famously supports Port Vale, did you see any positive effect on support when he was at his peak?
There was an initial flurry of interest from the girls, and after Robbie wore a Vale shirt at one of his concerts online sales increased by a large amount. It has died down a bit now, but I am sure if he announced he was coming to our next home game, the attendance would reflect it!

Former City player Jennison Myrie-Williams is with you now. How's he getting on at Vale Park?
He has been quite impressive. He is great to watch with a quick turn of pace and dazzling foot work. Like a lot of skilful wingers, he needs to learn when to cross and when to take it on at times, but he is really good on the eye when he has the ball.

Aside from Myrie-Williams, which players do you think City fans should be expecting to cause us issues on Saturday and which player do you think Port Vale are going to struggle to contain?
Vale skipper Doug Loft will cover every blade of grass and he is likely to be very influential, and Tom Pope could pop up with a goal at any time. Regarding your players, I have to be honest, with not facing you for some time I know very little about them, but every player in a red shirt will be shown the upmost respect.

Finally, can I get a prediction of the scoreline please?

You wouldn’'t expect anything other from me than a call for a home win would you? I honestly believe it will be a close call and any of the two sides are capable of the win, but I am going for 2-1 to the Vale.

Thanks to Stu and Dave for their time, let’s hope, finally, three points will be travelling back on the coach with Sean O’Driscoll.


The Exiled Robin

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