Port Vale pair face fitness tests for promotion battle at Cheltenham


Port Vale are hoping Cristian Montano and Mark Cullen will be fit for Saturday’s game at promotion rivals Cheltenham after both had to miss training.

Centre half Shaun Brisley, who has a knee injury, is the only player definitely out of the game, but Vale are monitoring left back Montano, who has a back problem, and striker Cullen, who picked up a knock in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at home to Scunthorpe. 

Manager John Askey is hopeful both players will be fit.

He said: “Monty has a bit of a problem with his back and Mark Cullen got a bit of a dead leg on Saturday which affected him in the second half. But apart from that everybody is okay.

“Monty is getting a scan today just to make sure there is nothing too serious. But I think his main problem is coming from his back. With Mark, with it being a dead leg, it will feel stiff a bit but hopefully it will be okay on Saturday.”

Port Vale 2 Scunthorpe United 2. Port Vale’s Mark Cullen finds the net but the goal is ruled offside

Mitch Clark, who can play right or left back, is available after completing a three game suspension, but Askey doesn’t want to lose Montano having been impressed with his efforts.

He said the versatile full back or winger has been able to play through the back problem, adding: “I think that is what relates to his hamstring. He has been able to get through games, but hopefully if we can get his back sorted out that will solve his problem with his hamstring.”

Askey is keeping a level head as he looks forward to the final ten games of the season, starting with the Cheltenham game.

Vale moved up to seventh at the weekend, although they were bitterly disappointed to concede a last-minute equaliser.  They face a Cheltenham side who have moved to the brink of the promotion places with five straight wins.

Askey said: “The players have done great for me and for the club this season, so hopefully we can keep that going until the end of the season.”

Vale are unbeaten in seven games and also have competition for places. Mitch Clark adds further competition to a squad in which Tom Pope, Manny Oyeleke, Jake Taylor,  Richie Bennett, Rhys Browne and Adam Crookes are among those waiting for a chance back in the starting XI.

The manager added: “As long as the players who are playing perform, then we have a great chance. They are all capable of playing at this level and doing well. We just need to keep that going.

“One area we need to improve, is we have started to give one or two more goals away than we were doing. So, now we are scoring, hopefully that we can improve defensively.”

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