harriers-online FA Cup 1st rd preview
11th November 2004 
Port Vale
At Vale Park
12/11/04 7:45pm
We have some real problems ahead of this FA Cup game against Port Vale.  A goalkeeping crisis is the one that springs to mind after Ben Foster was recalled by Stoke City on Tuesday to act as cover for their second string keeper.

Shaun Cunnington is trying to get a replacement as we speak but he'll need to be a player that's out of work due to the loans mess that we seem to have gotten ourselves into.  I can't see the FA rushing to give us an exemption loan after they reneged on a similar plan the other week.

We could always stand outside Winson Green prison and see if Darren Steadman pops his head over the wall.

Daniel Lewis, our untried second string keeper, has now recovered from his injury but broken fingers can't be rushed for fear of causing another break.  John Danby is out for another month at least with his broken toe.  What have we got to lose if Lewis does play?  At least we won't have used up another precious loan and Lewis would be doing what he's here for.

It's not known yet which of the other loans we'll be able to use.  I'm sure that Portsmouth will allow us to play Shaun Cooper and James Keene but I'm not so sure with Darryn Stamp.

Chester haven't got a very big squad either and, at Stafford, they do have what looks like an easy passage into the next round.  They could easily pick up a few injuries so might still require the services of Stamp.  We'll see.

There are rumours that we have signed 34yr old Tom Bennett from Boston.  It's such a big rumour that it is in black & white on the official Boston website, TeamTalk, NewsNow and the Wolverhampton rag.  It's also been broadcast on Hereford & Worcester radio but NOT on our official website yet??.

Bennett started his career at Aston Villa then joined the Wolves before moving on to Stockport, Walsall and finally Boston Utd.  He has fallen out of favour there after an un-disclosed row with the club.

Tom should play some part in the game tomorrow.

Do we have anyone returning from injury?  Steve Burton had a bit of an injury last week so he might be back in the squad and Lee Jenkins picked up a bit of a knock but there's still no Hazell, Brown, Mellon or Christie.

Vale are tootling around in mid table in League 1 and, like us, were suffering a bit of a striker crisis until they snapped up Nathan Lowndes from Plymouth last week.  The 28yr old is a bit of an unknown but comes with a reputation of battling hard up front.

They have a few injuries to contend with.  Craig James (knee) and Lee Matthews (ankle) and Michael Cummins (shoulder), Dean Smith (groin), Andreas Lipa (hamstring), Mark Goodlad (thigh) and Dave Hibbert (knee) but they can welcome back Robin Hulbert who is just about recovered from his groin strain.

Michael Walsh will be back in the squad following his three-match ban after being sent off against Stockport but Aston Villa have refused them the possibility of playing the 19yr old defender, James O'Connor, who has been on loan to Vale for three months.

On current form this game should be a walkover for Vale and a thrashing for us.  After trying to big the team up in recent weeks I'll now have to face the truth.

We don't stand an earthly!  But we'll give it a try.


Harriers from:
An unknown goalkeeper, Lewis, Burton, Beswetherick, Cooper, Bennett, Sall, Hatswell, McHale, Advice-Desruisseaux, Jenkins, Keates, Diop, Stamp, Christiansen, Foster, Russell, Keene.

Port Vale from:
Pilkington, Walsh, Collins, Lowndes, Paynter, Jeff Smith, Reid, Ryan Brown, Armstrong, Rowland, Birchall, Robinson, Eldershaw, Hulbert, Anyon, Brain, Daryl McMahon.
Previous games against Port Vale
Harriers score first
2003 - 04
2002 - 03
2001 - 02
2000 - 01

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