Our prediction for this EFL Cup match:
Vale Park will be packed when Port Vale and Middlesbrough lock horns in a highly-anticipated EFL Cup game. The Valiants aim to build on back-to-back wins over Exeter City and Wigan Athletic, but they will have a much bigger fish to fry against the Championship side. A man to keep an eye on in the League One side will be Ethan Chislett, who scored a hat-trick at the weekend, while all Mitchell Clark, Josh Thomas, and Dan Jones are sidelined with injuries. James Wilson is unlikely to be risked.
The Boro, on the other hand, set up a meeting with Port Vale by beating Exeter 3-2. As Middlesbrough produced a fine performance in a 2-1 win over Swansea at the weekend, we are tempted to put our money on the Championship side. As for the away team, Tom Glover should be recalled to the starting XI, while all Paddy McNair, Tommy Smith, Darragh Lenihan, Hayden Hackney, Lewis O'Brien and Marcus Forss remain in the treatment room.
Highlighted Player (Paddy McNair):
Following in the footsteps of his compatriot Jonny Evans, Paddy McNair joined the Manchester United academy in 2011 and he was surprisingly handed first team debut by Louis van Gaal at the start of the 2014/2015 season.
Despite his fragile age, the talented central defender has been putting in some very mature performances ever since, and everything suggests he could go on to become an important player at Old Trafford in years to come. After representing a number of youth sides, McNair made his first appearance for the Northern Ireland senior national team in a March 2015 friendly vs Scotland, before making another three outings as his side secured their place at the Euro 2016 finals.
Northern Ireland coach Michael O’Neill surprisingly played McNair in holding midfield in the March 2016 friendly vs Wales. After the youngster impressed in the middle of the park, O’Neill went on to suggest that the Manchester United starlet may be used in midfield rather than defence in years to come in the national team.
Highlighted Team (Port Vale):
Nicknamed the Valiants, Port Vale are a professional club that compete in the League Two. Port Vale welcome their rivals at Vale Park, and they wear white and black kit when playing in front of home fans. Yellow, on the other hand, is the dominant colour of their away kit.
The Valiants’ home ground, which was built in 1950, can hold up to 49,768 people. Championship side Stoke City are seen as one of the club’s fiercest rivals, but their rivalry is pretty healthy. The two teams first met on December 2, 1882, with the Potters emerging triumphant (1-0).
The Valiants maintain a rivalry with fellow League 2 club Crewe Alexandra as well. Speaking of the club’s titles, it has to be noted that Port Vale have won Football League Trophy on two occasions (1993, 2001). A 9-1 win over Chesterfield from September 24, 1932 is the club’s biggest triumph.