The Twelfth Man

KEEP an eye on the Vale Park substitutes’ benches if Sunday’s FA Cup fourth-round draw throws up the possibility of the Pilgrims or Port Vale progressing to an away tie with Manchester United.

John Sheridan’s Greens take on Vale – managed by his ex team-mate Micky Adams – in a third-round game that kicks off after Martin and Paul Allen have selected the pairings for the subsequent round.

“If we get Old Trafford, I’ll put 12 on the pitch if I can – Micky will be thinking the same,” joked John, before giving his former Leeds United colleague, who won promotion with Sky Bet Legaue 1 Vale last season, a serious endorsement.

He said: “I’ve known Micky for a long time – he’s an excellent manager and he is doing a good job at Port Vale. They have taken the momentum of going up last year into this season.

“I know they will be organised and they will be fit under Micky. When we have had them watched, they have played well, so we have got to expect a really tough game but it’s the FA Cup and there are always upsets.

“It’ll be a really tough game. I don’t think people expect us to win, but I expect us to put up a good fight and, if we can play like we have been playing of late, I think we have got a good opportunity of getting through the game.

“[Port Vale] will feel confident, because they are at home, but Micky knows me and, if has had us watched recently, he knows he will be in for a tough game.

“We’ve had them watched a few times. We know what their strengths are and, if they’ve got any weaknesses, we’ll try and nullify them.

“I want us to go there, be relaxed, and believe we can win the game. If we give it our best shot, I do believe we have got players who can go and win us the game. 

“I think we are playing with a bit more confidence, a bit more belief and we have got a bit of ‘never say die’ about us, when we have come back from game after conceding.”