Steven Schumacher

Schumacher's Port Vale Preview

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Steven Schumacher says he cannot wait to get back in action at Home Park after a lengthy gap without Sky Bet League One football – and he has about 15,000 people who feel exactly the same way.

Friday’s game against Port Vale is another sell-out for home fans, who have had to wait through the entire month of November without league football. The Pilgrims beat Exeter City 4-2 on 31 October to record a ninth win out of nine at home this season, but have spent time on the road since, as well playing a Papa Johns Trophy game against Charlton Athletic.

“If it half as good as the atmosphere for the Exeter game then it will be special,” said Schumacher. “Night games are always good here, I love it under the lights. It’s a sell-out again, which is amazing. I can’t wait. It feels like forever ago, but roll on Friday.

“It’s been a long time. We played the Charlton game, which was a lot different to what we will find on Friday night. It’s important that we know what’s got us so much success at Home Park, we need to try to emulate that and do it again.”

Argyle had no game last weekend, and with a lengthy injury list and several walking wounded, the break was a welcome one.

Not only has the squad had some time to rest and recover, but Schumacher reported some good news about several players who recently been sidelined with injury.

“[Danny Mayor] has had a full week of training,” said the boss. “He did a little bit Thursday and Friday last week with Elliot [Turner, Head of Fitness and Conditioning] and has trained with the group since Monday. Thankfully, he is back in contention as well, which is a big boost.

“Dan Scarr we will see this year. The plan for him is to be with Elliot and the performance team Monday and Tuesday of next week. He’ll train with the group Thursday and Friday, and depending on how all that goes, he will possibly be involved at Cambridge, if not definitely for Morecambe.

“Mickel [Miller] did really well against Charlton. He got 45 minutes and looked strong, after doing 10 or 15 minutes at Burton. He’s had a full week of training, and looked stronger every day. He’s ready to start playing his part.

“The break came at a good time. We had three away games on the spin, picked up a few injuries and the lads looked a little bit tired. Having that weekend off gave everybody time to breathe and take stock of what’s been going on.

“The players who hadn’t played an awful lot of minutes trained on the Friday, and everybody else had three days to go and see family, or do whatever to switch off. We got them back in on Monday, everybody looked really fresh. There was a zip about the training session. It’s been good all week. Fingers crossed we can take that into Friday night.”

Friday’s opponents Port Vale are 10th in League One, having been promoted under manager Darrell Clarke last season.

Schumacher is expecting Vale to be energetic and combative, but trusts his team to match that, and hopefully extend the winning sequence at home this season to ten games.

“I think they are doing great,” said Schumacher. “They had a brilliant start coming up from League Two, and settling straight in. They have carried on their momentum that they had built last year. They cross a lot of balls into the box and get bodies in there. They are a hard team to play against. They get after you and pressure which is tricky. They are not going to stand and let us have it all our own way.

“We will try to play with the energy that we need. If we go through some adversity, which I’m sure we will at stages in the game, we overcome it and the crowd stick behind us, keep encouraging the players. We have shown that when we are at it, and we go ahead at Home Park, we look a strong team. If we go behind, we have it in us to react.”

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