Valiants are ready for a play-offs tilt

PNE Old boy: Liam Chilvers in action for Port Vale
PNE Old boy: Liam Chilvers in action for Port Vale
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Port Vale are eyeing a push into the play-off positions as they prepare for their New Year’s Day clash with Preston at Deepdale.

Two home victories over Christmas moved the Valiants to within one place and two points of the top six.

Micky Adams’ men beat Notts County 2-1 on Boxing Day courtesy of two penalties.

They followed that up with Sunday’s 2-0 win over Rotherham, Louis Dodds and Gavin Tomlin on target.

That was something of a bad tempered affair, with the Millers having ex-Preston defender Claude Davis red carded.

Newly promoted to League One this season, Vale manager Adams is delighted with the progress his side are making.

“It has been a big year for the club,” said Adams.

“We came out of administration, managed to get ourselves in a decent position while in administration, then got promoted and started the campaign in League One.

“We are halfway through the season and two points off the play-offs…it’s ‘dream world’ isn’t it?

“We have shown we are more than capable of having a decent season. It is a big second half for us.”

Adams would like to strengthen his squad during the January transfer window, although doubts if funds will be available.

He said: “Whether we can add to the squad will be debatable, I would imagine, but you should never write this squad off.

“Everybody will have their own ideas about where I should strengthen.”

It is just over a month since North End and Vale last locked horns in a feisty clash in the Potteries.

PNE were 2-0 winners that night, Joe Garner scoring both goals for the 10-man visitors.

Of course Garner was lucky to still be on the pitch by the time he opened the scoring, Neil Kilkenny having been sent off instead of him in a case of mistaken identity by referee Andrew Madley.

Garner later got a retrospective red card and Kilkenny’s dismissal was rescinded.

Former Preston centre-back Chris Robertson will return to the Vale squad tomorrow, having been suspended for the Rotherham win.

His place on Sunday went to another ex-North Ender Liam Chilvers.

A third player to have served PNE in the past – goalkeeper Chris Neal – has been sidelined recently by a hand injury.

Vale will be without Anthony Griffin tomorrow, the midfielder suspended after getting his fifth booking.

Winger Jennison Myrie-Williams is ruled out with a knee injury.

This is Vale’s first trip to Deepdale for 21 years – they won 5-2 in John Beck’s first game in charge of PNE in 1992.