Three Things To Look Out For As Derby County Host Port Vale – Opinion

Following recent results, this seems as if it is a must-win game for each side, but for very different reasons.

Derby County will be favourites, and rightly so given their position in the League One table, but they haven’t exactly looked convincing in recent weeks. They’ve in fact fallen to back-to-back losses against Barnsley and Charlton Athletic respectively which although keeps them second, has seen the gap to leaders Portsmouth extend to seven points.

If they want to keep any sort of title ambitions alive, then the game against Port Vale is simply a must-win, their place in the automatics could also be at risk with Bolton Wanderers and Barnsley breathing right down their neck.

They have however found themselves an ideal opportunity to get back to winning ways, as they host a struggling Port Vale side. The Valiants are yet to win in 2024, and since appointing Darren Moore as manager, have gained just one point. It looked as if the new manager would gain his first three points on Tuesday night in their game against Fleetwood Town, but his side would throw away a 2-0 lead. An 88th and 93rd minute Jayden Shockley brace would gain Fleetwood a late point, much to the dismay of the Port Vale fans.

Now four points off of safety, the Valiants need to start winning games if they want to ensure their third tier status as draws simply will not cut it at this point in the season.

It should be an intriguing affair in a game with implications at both ends of the table.

With that in mind, here’s three things to look out for as Derby County host Port Vale…


Darren Moore feeling the pressure

It is too early to make judgements on Moore’s tenure as the Valiants’ boss, however he would’ve been expected to have made a better start. With just one point in his opening four games, that being at home to a relegation-threatened Fleetwood, isn’t a good start to his tenure by any means.

Having signed a five-and-a-half-year deal with the club, expectations were incredibly high when he came into the building. It’s too early to write him off but if they were to not pick up a win, that would be a winless first five for the new manager and an even longer 11 games for the club. If results don’t go there way, Port Vale could well be six points off of safety at the end of play today and will face an uphill battle to survive in League One this year.


A resurgent Derby County

Derby have put out back-to-back poor performances in the last week which has resulted in them losing their last two games. They may have lost ground in the title race, but given Bolton haven’t exactly been firing on all cylinders, they do still sit second.

Looking at the squad, they do have the quality in it to turn things around, and manager Paul Warne will be expecting just that. If unable to pick up three points today then who know what that’ll mean for the rest of the season but they could well be out of the title race. Although it looks a given that they’ll at least make the play-offs at this point, Warne will want to finish within the top-two and today brings a good opportunity to get back on track.


Goals

The joint-second best attack in the league facing off with the third-worst defence in the league can only mean one thing right?

Port Vale have been very leaky at the back this season, especially in 2024, and have conceded a few very sloppy goals. Given Derby’s strong attack, they could well capitalise on that, and put a few past Connor Ripley in the Vale net.

Derby may not have been as lethal in front of goal in recent weeks, partly due to an injury to talisman Dion Charles, however the striker could be back for this one. His presence certainly helps the attack and they could well make the most of a poor Port Vale defence.

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