Familiar faces back at Deepdale

Mark Marshall has been in decent form for Port Vale this season and is likely to face Preston tomorrow
Mark Marshall has been in decent form for Port Vale this season and is likely to face Preston tomorrow
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Neither Simon Grayson nor Rob Page should need to run through the DVD too many times as they prepare Preston and Port Vale for their meeting at Deepdale.

It was only a week last Tuesday that the teams met in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, when they had the chance to size each other up for the League One clash.

The Lilywhites have had the international break in between.

The Valiants, on the other hand, beat Yeovil Town 4-1 at home last Saturday.

Vale’s side this weekend will probably resemble more closely the one which played in the JPT than the North End team 

Eight of their side which lost 3-2 went on to start the victory over Yeovil.

You would probably expect six or so of Preston’s starters in the JPT to start this time, with Scott Wiseman, Alan Browne and Jamie Jones among those to come back in.

Vale interim manager Page 
– who is hoping a six-week spell in temporary charge can lead to him landing the Valiants’ job full-time – said: “We know exactly what Preston are all about, albeit they made changes against us in the cup.

“We made changes ourselves but we have had an opportunity to look at them first hand.

“We have had another bright week this week and made sure everything was right on the training 
ground to get ready for a tough game.

“Preston know what they have got from back to front, they all know what they are doing and they work well together as a unit.

“Tom Clarke, 
who played right-back against us in the cup, I know from my Huddersfield days – he is a whole-hearted defender who defends the right way.

“They have got quality in and around the team up front and on the bench too.

“We know what we are up against but we are going to try and match them in all areas.

“Simon Grayson’s teams are always difficult to play against – they are hard-working and they play a style and a formation that suits all of the players.

“They will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season, so it’s a chance to pit ourselves up against one of the best and to see where we are.”

Vale changed formation for the JPT game from their usual 4-4-2 to a 4-3-3.

They reverted to 4-4-2 in the win against Yeovil and seem likely to stick with that at Deepdale.

That will mean Mark Marshall operating down the left wing after only being used as a substitute last time. Marshall has caught the eye since joining on a Bosman in the summer, after having a short spell at Coventry last season.

Before that, the 28-year-old had spent a sizeable chunk of his career at Barnet, having started as a trainee with Swindon Town.

Up front, leading scorer Tom Pope is set to be partnered by Ben Williamson.

They teamed up against Yeovil to good effect, Page having been searching for an effective pairing while Blackburn Rovers loanee Jordan Slew completes a three-match suspension.

Said Page: “I thought Ben was brilliant on Saturday.

“He came in after Jordan Slew’s suspension and, as with whoever I have called on, he gave me everything he has got.

“I don’t think he has anything to prove with me. I see him every day and see what he is capable of doing.

“I’m just disappointed he didn’t get a goal on Saturday for all his effort.

“I asked him to do a job going forward to play with Tom but then asked him to do another job defensively.

“He does both sides of the game really well.”