Salford City and Port Vale meet in a league match for the first time on Saturday – here’s how Gabriel Sutton sees it panning out.

 

Salford City’s mixed start

Salford were dominant in their opening day 2-0 win over Stevenage.

Right-back Scott Wiseman made some marauding forward runs while Adam Rooney grafted selflessly to create space for Mani Dieseruvwe to poach two goals – he could have had a hat-trick – in a team performance that was a real statement of intent.

Salford though did not successfully carry the template they used on Saturday into the subsequent trip to Crawley, where they fell to a 2-0 defeat and allowed their opponents 30 shots at goal.

It is difficult to pinpoint whether that was down only to the failings of the players or whether Graham Alexander, who has at times been criticized for adopting defensive tactics in specialist situations in a way that can arguably disrupt fluency, changed too many of the instructions.

Although, Alexander should be credited for re-organising his side for Tuesday’s home loss to Championship high-flyers Leeds.

Although Salford conceded three goals in that game, they were not carved open too often as Carl Piegergianni produced a commanding performance at centre-back and Richie Towell battled tirelessly in midfield next to Lois Maynard.

The key for Salford is to get the defensive balance right.

If they are as organised as they were against Leeds against teams with less quality, they should keep a lot of clean sheets this season – they just need to be careful not to invite too much pressure, as was the case at Crawley.

 

Competitive start for Vale

Port Vale have played Colchester and Northampton – two teams hoping to challenge for promotion – so far in their league campaign and earnt 1-1 draws with both sides.

Then, they hosted League One Burton in the EFL Cup and although they lost 2-1, delivered a promising second half performance.

Cristian Montano made a positive contribution after an injury-plagued summer and recruit Mark Cullen, who has had similar issues, got his first goal for the Valiants.

Some of the combination play between right-back James Gibbons and right-winger David Worrall so far this season has pleased manager John Askey, while summer signing David Amoo has been popular with fans for his lively play on the left of the attacking trio.

However, Vale’s end product has been somewhat unrefined, which is perhaps unsurprising for a club that is in many respects in transition.

With new co-chairs – Kevin and Carol Shanahan – as well as a lot of new players and a relatively new manager, it’s a case of competing well in every game and developing a clear playing identity, rather than necessarily being the finished article straight away.

 

The maths

10 of Salford’s last 16 league encounters have resulted in them winning a game with fewer than four goals scored; 62.5

Any odds mentioned in this article are correct at the time of posting

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