Port Vale boss Andy Crosby believes his side are ‘probably’ underdogs for their Carabao Cup clash this week, as they visit high-flying League Two side Mansfield Town.
In an exclusive chat with The Real EFL’s Adam Scully, Crosby revealed that the Stags’ super form in the league means they’ll be considered by many as the favourites in the clash, which will lead to a quarter-final spot for one of the two teams.
The last time Port Vale were at this stage, in 06/07, they took Spurs to extra time before Tom Huddlestone and Jermain Defoe broke their hearts. This time, they’ll be hoping to go one further but will have to do what no club has done since April 29th – beat the Stags.
“It’s a chance for us to make some history as a group,” said Crosby, speaking to us as part of a full podcast to be released later this week. “We go into the game on a really difficult run of results over the last month or so in League One fixtures.
“We’re looking forward to the game against a Mansfield team full of confidence at this moment in time, unbeaten in League Two with a really experienced manager. It’s a game we’re really looking forward to.”
Mansfield have reached the quarter-finals once before, back in 1975/76. On that occasion, Manchester City defeated them in the last eight before going on to win the competition. Pep Guardiola’s team are not left in the current season’s Carabao Cup, but Man Utd, Newcastle, West Ham, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Arsenal are. That’s a tantalising prize for the victor in tomorrow’s tie.
“We know that the reward is massive,” added Crosby. “We’ve been saying since round two about the potential for getting one of the big boys in the cup, home or away, and now we find ourselves in the last 16 playing against Mansfield away from home. We’ve got recent history with them; what a great day Wembley was for us a couple of years ago.
“We probably go there as underdogs because of our current form and Mansfield’s current form. It’s important we remember we’re a League One football team, and we’ve got League One players, and we have to go there and perform to the best of our abilities.”
The Valiants are without a win in seven matches, their last victory coming in this competition against Sutton United. They’ve also beaten Fleetwood (3-2) and Crewe on penalties to get to this stage.
This will be the first time the Valiants and Stags have come together in the League Cup, having previously met in the FA Cup (1985) and twice in the Football League Trophy (2016, 2019).