Athlone Town will take a break from a frustrating League of Ireland First Division season as they host English League Two side Port Vale at the Athlone Town Stadium on Tuesday night (Lissywollen, 24th July, 7:45pm).
Athlone suffered their first defeat in four games at the weekend – but surprisingly to struggling Mervue United. Athlone remain fourth in the second tier of the League of Ireland but with only the top three places holding any reward this season, it looks like the two time League of Ireland champions will have to wait at least another year.
Port Vale manager Micky Adams is no stranger to the Midlands and his team are currently based in the area as they continue pre-season preparations. Writing in the matchday programme “All Tangled Up in Blue and Black”, Adams says “We know for a fact that the Irish boys will be match fit, they’ll certainly look a bit sharper than we are at that stage, but we’re not bothered about that, we’re just building our fitness up and once no one gets injured we’re not really worried about the result”, but added “we don’t want to lose”.
Athlone boss Mike Kerley is hopeful of experimenting with his line-up saying,“The friendly game comes at a very good time from my point of view, over the last couple of weeks we’ve brought a lot of new faces into the club. Some of them do need to get some match fitness and competitive games under their belts and it’s great to have the opportunity to play against a quality side to help build sharpness ahead of the visit of Limerick on Friday”.
One player under the microscope will be former Cork City midfielder Darren Murphy of whom Adams said, “Darren has done very well, we watched him play at Stevenage for a long time, he’s had a few injuries and missed a lot of last season through injury, but he’s now fully fit and he’s looked good in pre-season and I’m sure he’s looking forward to coming over”.
Port Vale are also due to play a Galway United selection in Galway on Saturday
Stoke City FC traveling roster:
Goalkeepers: Asmir Begovic, Thomas Sorensen, Carlo Nash
Defenders: Andy Wilkinson, Ryan Shotton, Robert Huth, Ryan Shawcross, Matthew Upson, Danny Higginbotham, Marc Wilson, Danny Collins.
Midfielders: Jermaine Pennant, Glenn Whelan, Dean Whitehead, Rory Delap, Matthew Etherington, Wilson Palacios, Diego Arismendi, Michael Tonge, Jamie Ness.
Strikers: Peter Crouch, Kenwyne Jones, Jonathan Walters, Cameron Jerome, Mamady Sidibe.