The fixtures have been published this morning so Port Vale can prepare for their 2020/21 campaign.
Here are five key fixtures for John Askey and his squad.
CRAWLEY (H) – OPENING GAME ON SEPTEMBER 12
Port Vale must kick off behind closed doors this season – so with that in mind supporters will be happy enough with their opening game. No disrespect to Crawley, but this isn’t one of the Vale’s bigger matches. The distance between the clubs means there isn’t much of a rivalry.
But the last time the Vale played Crawley on the opening day things went well – winning 3-1 in Sussex under Michael Brown in 2017.
A cautionary note here – things nosedived after that. The manager lost his job and the Vale were in a relegation battle for the rest of the season. I’ll cheer up for the rest of this article, I promise.
CARLISLE (H) – October 10
Football supporters are due to be allowed back in October – and this is the Vale’s first home league game of that month.
Vale have been working hard on safety and social distancing in preparation for the return of supporters, but all will depend on government guidance.
But if fans are back for the first time since March, this will be an emotional day.
BARROW (H) – December 12
A Boxing Day home game for the Vale – and an interesting one at that as they take on a club who are back in the Football League for the first time since they were voted out in 1972.
Barrow earned their place back by topping the National League thanks in no small part to the goals of ex-Vale forwards Dior Angus and Scott Quigley.
HARROGATE TOWN (A) – April 5
A first ever trip for the Vale to Harrogate after the Yorkshire club won promotion to the Football League via the play-offs.
So, if away fans are permitted by this stage, this will be a must-visit for Vale supporters.
MANSFIELD (H) – May 8
Let’s not get carried away…..No, sorry let’s get carried away.
We know it’s a long old season, anything can happen and so on, but Vale fans are daring to dream of a tilt at the top seven after making tremendous progress under John Askey last season.
They kick off the campaign as joint-sixth favourites – and Mansfield are one of the clubs rated by the bookies’ as more likely to go up.
If all goes to form, what a final day at Vale Park this could be.