Imps v Port Vale preview – We’re into the final straight

There’s some more numbers for you. They’ll mean very little when the game actually kicks off, but it is interesting to see Port Vale have conceded in 14 of their last 20 home games, whilst we’ve kept eight clean sheets in the last 20 on the road.

Whilst we do look favourites for the win, the actual provider is anyone’s guess. The key to keeping Vale anonymous is marking Tom Pope out of the game and I wonder if perhaps Bozzie might continue at centre back for now. The saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” comes to mind and the job the beast did on Shrewsbury’s defence surely earned him the right to stay at the back. It would also mean a place for Elliott in the middle of the park.

So if we score, it’ll be Green or Rhead, if they score first it’ll be Pope. No shock there, although I love that Ollie Palmer has a 13% chance of scoring first, but only a 0% chance of playing more than 35 minutes.

Look, stats can tell us one story, but there’s plenty of variables that we ought to take into consideration. The first is the referee, after all a Seb Stockbridge can soon render all of your preparation pointless with one waft of his randomly produced card.

Tomorrow we have John Busby, a man who has produced just four red cards all season. My worry would be getting a ref looking to give Rheady a belated card for the incident on Sunday, something that actually isn’t as bad as it looks in slow motion. Anyway, Busby doesn’t appear to be a rash man, although his one National league season is suspect. He sent off Mitch Brundle of Braintree as we beat them in 2015/16, one of eight red cards he flashed over 18 matches. He does appear to have calmed significantly, although he isn’t the most experienced referee.

It does appear as though I’ve been having a bit of success with the old ‘both teams to score first’ accumulators recently, and after being asked by two or three people I thought I’d try tipping again. Those of you who followed my last tips will have lost your money, the only week I haven’t picked up a win in five now. I’ve grown a tenner into £125, using one golden rule: don’t bet on Lincoln. In this instance, definitely don’t.

The chance of both sides scoring is around 50%, but it’s too much of a risk when there’s much better sides to bet on.

I like the look of Sheffield United and Millwall, plus the odds are quite good too. Millwall have kept three clean sheets in four pushing the numbers out a bit, but they’re visiting Bramall Lane and I’ll be taking that one on my coupon. Bear in mind it is a 1pm kick off, so be prepared to either lose your bet before two games have kicked off, or have a constant cash-out option. Normally I bet on three games all kicking off at the same time, but this one is worth the risk.

I’m also taking Reading and Sunderland. The Black Cats are battling against the drop and as such they’re playing a really open style with just three at the back, bearing in mind they’ve been crap with four there all season. Reading should score, but Sunderland press so hard right now I think they’ll bag one too.

Finally I’m going for Luton and Crewe. The Railwaymen are struggling but seem to know where the goal is right now, but you always expect James Collins and Danny Hylton to produce something.

£10 pays out £44.54 on Betway. I’m not advertising a specific betting site here, it’s just the site I use. Let me know if you’re on it, or what your choices are in the comments below.



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