Robbie Williams is Port Vale’s most famous fan and one is picking the Valiants to entertain you when they line up against Northampton in English League One on Saturday.
Port Vale is the largest priced English League One home team this weekend and one cannot understand why bookmakers are so down on the chance of the Burslem-based side. After all, it is not as though Port Vale’s Saturday guest, Northampton, is flying high in English League One – actually, the Cobblers are positioned five rungs below the Valiants on the ladder.
Northampton strung together 26 unbeaten matches across all competitions from January to August but the bottom has fallen out of its world in recent months. Northampton has lost four English League One games on the bounce, failing to score in each of its last three divisional matches. Twenty rounds into the English League One season and Northampton’s confidence is low and the Cobblers find themselves just five points above the four-team relegation zone as they attempt to consolidate their position in England’s third tier.
One is a devotee of collateral form analysis so now it is time to do some number crunching. Port Vale and Northampton have run into 16 identical English League One opponents and, according to one’s collateral form analysis, the Valiants trail the Cobblers 7-1-8. So why, then, does one want to back Port Vale to get the better of Northampton? Well, it has a heck of lot to do with the fact that Port Vale has outperformed Northampton versus many of the division’s leading lights. For example, Port Vale and Northampton have faced six of the same English League One top-nine sides and, according to one’s collateral form analysis of these games, the Valiants hold a 5-1-0 advantage over the Cobblers.
Port Vale’s English League One home record of 6-3-1 is the fifth best in the division and it includes a 3-1 victory over Scunthorpe – the Valiants are one of just two teams to have taken three points off the Iron. Five of Port Vale’s six English League One home wins have come at the expense of sides in the division’s top 10 and four of those triumphs have been by multiple-goal margins. Northampton’s English League One’s away numbers of 2-4-4 are distinctly average and the Cobblers have not won on the turf of a team above it on the ladder. Indeed, irrespective of venue, Northampton is 1-4-7 in its 12 English League One matches against higher ranked sides. It really does beggar belief that bookmakers are favouring Northampton over Port Vale this weekend.
And Port Vale will not want for motivation, either. Former Port Vale manager Rob Page returns to Burslem for the first time as the boss of Northampton. Page did not leave Port Vale on the best of terms, with Valiants chairman Norman Smurthwaite claiming that Page’s assistant, Paul Bodin, was the brains of the operation. Page left Port Vale to link up with Northampton, although Smurthwaite said that he had been planning to axe Page anyway due to underwhelming results.
Port Vale is trading at odds of +240 with Betfair to beat Northampton on Saturday. One has researched the likely starting line-ups and find no reason whatsoever for assessing Port Vale at odds of +240 – the Valiants have every right to be somewhere around the +140 mark.
Port Vale to beat Northampton
Saturday 10th December, 15:00 GMT