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Lloyd starts: The predicted Port Vale XI to face Bradford on Saturday

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League Two promotion contenders Port Vale face the mother of all banana skins as they take on Derek Adams’ Bradford City this Saturday lunchtime, looking to win all three points.

Losing just one of their last nine league games, Darrell Clarke’s men have established themselves as one of the favourites to win a place in League One next term, also claiming a confidence-boosting 5-1 victory against third-tier outfit Accrington Stanley in the FA Cup last weekend.

They didn’t need any extra confidence after their scintillating start to the campaign, but the Valiants will have certainly benefitted from such a thumping win over John Coleman’s men and with that, have sent a clear statement of intent to the rest of the league ahead of this Saturday’s tie. Their 5-0 win against Liverpool’s U23s in midweek in the EFL Trophy was also exceptional.

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The Staffordshire outfit come up against a Bradford City side that were also expected to be in and around the automatic promotion places before the beginning of the season, especially under a man of Adams’ calibre after seeing him win promotion with Morecambe last term.

But despite his appointment and recruiting ten new additions in the summer ahead of a potential promotion push at Valley Parade, their inconsistency has seen them fall down the table and they currently sit in 12th place.

This upcoming game, however, is one Vale could easily lose if they aren’t on their A-game, even with the home advantage.

And ahead of this match, we have selected the starting lineup manager Clarke could potentially go with as they look to avoid an upset.

Keeping a settled back four will be key to Vale’ success this term in their quest to gain promotion to League One, so the quartet of Lucas Covolan, Dan Jones, Nathan Smith and Lewis Cass should all start once again, especially after only conceding once against a team in a higher division than them in Accrington.

They may have seen Stanley’s biggest attacking threat in Colby Bishop sent off during that game, but that only came in the 70th minute and they were only five minutes away from keeping a clean sheet.

The great thing about the three centre-backs? They are all still reasonably young, especially Cass and they will be hoping to utilise this to stay injury-free for the remainder of the campaign.

The trio will also be hoping to get in and amongst the goals more from set-pieces to take the pressure off their forwards to perform. This is their key area for improvement, though a defender’s first job is to defend.

At wing-back, David Worrall and James Gibbons are the two starters, with the latter recording a reasonably impressive four contributions in League Two this term and the former being one of the first names on the teamsheet recently.

There is a case to stick Tom Conlon in a more advanced position after seeing him score three times and record four assists in 12 fourth-tier matches in 2021/22, but he can do a job in a deeper role and with that, lines up alongside Tom Pett.

This leaves the three front men to pick, arguably the hardest to choose with such a competitive squad at Clarke’s disposal. After his hat-trick last weekend, James Wilson has to start as the main man up top.

But another man that has also earned his place in the lineup is George Lloyd after scoring in each of his last two games and playing his part in the two hammerings. He will have to be shifted out wide with Wilson up top, but it’s a role he’s taken on before and is likely to thrive with little defensive responsibilities.

They will be joined by loanee Dennis Politic, who was forced to grow up quickly at Bolton Wanderers with their previous administration. He has been more involved for Vale in recent games – and you wouldn’t bet against him starting again this weekend.


A 21-year-old Reading FC fan and writer who graduated from the University for the Creative Arts in the summer with a degree in Journalism and Media Production. Other topics written about include politics, mental health and education.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Lloyd starts: The predicted Port Vale XI to face Bradford on Saturday

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