Houghton's Port Vale Preview
When Argyle take on Port Vale at Home Park on Friday night, it will be the Pilgrims’ first game in Sky Bet League One in almost two weeks.
In addition, it will be the first league outing at home since a thrilling 4-2 derby win over Exeter City on 31 October.
The break last weekend was an enforced one, after Argyle had been knocked out of the Emirates FA Cup. Although no-one desired defeat in the competition, it has had the side effect of giving the Argyle squad some time to rest and reset, ready for a busy December schedule.
The Pilgrims have played twice since the Exeter win, draw 1-1 at Lincoln City and 2-2 at Burton Albion. Midfielder Jordan Houghton says that those decent points gained on the road will look even better if Argyle can beat Port Vale under the Home Park lights.
“It’s been good to get a bit some intense training in, and some rest as well,” said Jordan. “We had a lot of injuries and knocks from a tough few weeks.
“It was a refresh, ahead of a busy Christmas period. It’s an important time. We’re ready to attack the next block of games.
“We’ll all set to have a look at Port Vale and do some tactical work ahead of Friday night.
“Every game that we play here is great. It’s going to be another sell-out, and an evening game which makes it more special. We’re looking forward to getting back out there.
“We picked up a couple of decent results on the road, when you look at how the games panned out, now we are looking forward to being back at Home Park.
“If you look at Lincoln and Burton, every season you get the same kind of quality of game, and toughness of opponent. Where they are in the league is irrelevant, they are still battling.
“We are not just going to roll teams over, especially away from home. It kept our unbeaten run going, and meant we picked up points away from home, which is big when you are going from promotion.
“If we get a win on Friday, those points away from home look very good.”
Port Vale are 10th in League One, having picked up 26 points from 19 games, following promotion via the play-offs from League Two last season.
They come to PL2 in mixed form; Vale won their last league game 1-0, against Charlton Athletic, but before that lost 4-0 at Oxford United and drew 2-2 with Wycombe Wanderers.
Houghton expects Vale to pose a threat, and to stick to their footballing philosophy.
He said: “They’ll come out, they play with a lot of energy and not really afraid, which is why they are doing so well. Some teams shy away from playing their game, and think about the opponents. I think they will come and play how they want, and how they have been doing.
“It should be an interesting match-up, and an exciting game.”