Luke Joyce will be among John Askey’s welcome selection options as Port Vale try to get back on track at home to Leyton Orient.
The 33 year old is available after serving a three-game suspension and is likely to be recalled straight back into the midfield.
Vale have lost all three games in Joyce’s absence, having also gone from leading 2-0 to losing 4-3 at home to Tranmere a fortnight ago after he was sent off for a late challenge seven minutes into the second half.
Vale’s poor run has been due to more than the holding midfielder’s absence, but the team’s record without him is arresting.
Since Joyce signed from Carlisle in the summer of 2018, Vale have played 14 league games in which he has not featured, and only won one of them.
Joyce’s return would free Manny Oyeleke to play a more advanced role in Vale’s midfield three, although Oyeleke has been one of Vale’s better players over the last three games.
Vale are hoping winger David Amoo will also be fit enough to return after a hamstring problem although there is competition out wide because Devante Rodney’s performance as a second half substitute was a rare highlight in the 2-1 defeat at Stevenage on Tuesday.
Captain Leon Legge could also return after missing the Stevenage game through a one match ban. Shaun Brisley came in for Legge at Stevenage so Askey must decide whether to recall Legge immediately after that poor team performance or give Brisley a run in the side alongside Nathan Smith in central defence.
Tom Pope is available and has trained after completing his period of isolation after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19.
Leyton Orient have climbed to eighth, three places and two points above Vale after back-to-back home wins, over Bradford and Harrogate.
Saturday’s game has been moved to a 1pm kick off after the Vale agreed to Leyton Orient’s request. The clubs had already worked together on the fixture, moving it to Saturday from midweek after both teams were knocked out of the FA Cup.
DO you believe in bogey teams? If so, you might want to watch this weekend’s game but give next Saturday’s match at Bolton a miss.
Over to Vale statistician Phil Sherwin who says: “There are contrasting records against the next two teams.
“Our home record against Orient in the league is 26-2-2, winning eight of the last nine, better than against anybody else who we have played more than a handful of times.
“However, at Bolton in the league it is 0-2-14, losing the last five. We have won there in the FA Cup though, as well as losing two other cup ties. Overall in the league against Bolton we have only beaten them once (a last minute winner in 1988) so our home and away record is a pitiful 1-9-22!”