BANTAMS OPPOSITION: Port Vale chase sixth clean sheet in row
IN-FORM Port Vale have an extra incentive to shut out the Bantams and extend their remarkable sequence of results.
Darrell Clarke’s side are on the hottest run in League Two with seven wins in eight and 22 points from a possible 24.
It has lifted them from fourth-bottom and looking nervously over their shoulders in mid-March to mid-table comfort just a point behind the Bantams.
Clarke is using the final games of the season to judge players coming out of contract – but Vale still have something to play for.
Another clean sheet this weekend would make it six on the bounce in the league for the club for the first time since 1928.
That equates to over eight hours of football since Crawley’s Ashley Nadesan was the last opponent to break through Vale’s brick wall.
Clarke said: “I am not being funny, it is just being ugly, scruffy, doing what we need to do to win football matches.
“If it makes for a bit of spice, an extra bit of motivation, then too right. They should be proud of themselves.
“They have had a lot of stick for the middle third of the season and they have responded with me absolutely outstandingly."
Clarke left Walsall for Port Vale in February after David Flitcroft, who had been linked with the City job, was appointed director of football.
Having made Vale harder to beat, the former Bristol Rovers chief already has one eye on recruitment for next season.
Among those with deals up in the summer is Kurtis Guthrie, who joined Vale in January after a dismal spell with City. Gary Bowyer’s final signing at Valley Parade did not score a goal in 13 appearances.
“The gaffer who signed me at Bradford was sacked the day after and I didn’t really mesh with the new manager,” the striker told the Jersey Evening Post. “The way he (Stuart McCall) went about things just wasn’t for me.
“I decided to stay in the summer to try to make it work but sometimes the club doesn’t fit.”