Stern test ahead for Vale at Cheltenham

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Port Vale have brought in former Chelsea defender Frank Sinclair on a temporary basis to help with a defence which conceded a last gasp equaliser to Scunthorpe last Saturday.

Manager John Askey said: “The players have been playing well but I’ve been disappointed by one or two of the goals that went in that were very avoidable but on the whole everybody’s performed quite well and we’ve been able to have the continuity you need to be successful.”

Vale travel to the Johnny Rocks stadium on Saturday to take on Play off chasing rivals Cheltenham Town.

Askey told the pre-match press conference that he expects nothing easy in Gloucestershire.

He said: “They are the form team at the moment, very strong and don’t concede many goals. It’s going to be a very tough game”.

The game promises to be an intriguing fixture with the Robins on the back of five straight wins which has propelled them to just two points off the automatic promotion places in the SkyBet League 2.

The Burselm based team are enjoying a superb run of form themselves and are unbeaten in their last seven.

There are injury concerns about the fitness of Mark Cullen and Christian Montano but both are expected to be available.

Askey will be buoyed by the return from injury of Adam Crooks and Mitch Clark to bolster the squad in the season run in.

Vale beat Saturday’s opposition in the FA Cup this season which teed up the FA Cup clash with Manchester City and the sides drew when they met earlier this season at Vale Park.

Vale striker Mark Cullen said: “We are going there full of confidence ourselves and hopefully we’ll get the three points”.

In terms of his own season where he found it hard to break into the team the Geordie born striker said: “It was a frustrating start and I wasn’t playing as much as I wanted but the lads were doing well and you have to bide your time and wait for the opportunity and I feel like when I have played this season I’ve done alright.

“I’ve scored a few goals and I can be happy but you always want more. I’m always trying to play more, score more and that’s what I’ll be trying to do until the end of the season”

Cheltenham boss Michael Duff has praised the Valiants’ management team for the job they have done at Vale Park this season.

He said: “I think John has done a great job along with Dave Kevan who I know really well. He was the assistant manager at Burnley when I went up there.

“I think it should be a good game. They’ll be going flat out. They’ll be looking to close the gap on us.”

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