Salford City travel to Port Vale on Saturday hoping to continue late January’s form into February.
The Ammies are currently four games unbeaten in all competitions after Tuesday night’s 4-0 win at Cambridge United, with seven points taken from the last nine available in the league.
However Port Vale have a formidable home record having lost just once at Vale Park in the league this season, as they too seek a second half of the season push towards the play-offs. That included John Askey’s side overturning a 1-0 deficit to beat automatic promotion hopefuls Exeter City 3-1 on Tuesday.
This will be the third meeting between the sides this season; Salford reaching the quarter-final of the Leasing.com Trophy with a 3-0 win earlier in January, and Jake Beesley securing a late point in the 1-1 draw at The Peninsula Stadium in August.
Manager Graham Alexander knows just how challenging the tie will be though.
“Port Vale’s a tough venue to go to; it’s a real big pitch, usually a good surface,
“We know the quality they have but we have to go and repeat what we did on Tuesday night – and for good spells in other games – and go there confident in what we’ve been doing of late.
“When you’ve got the momentum going and you’re winning games the players want to be out there as soon as possible, but it’s important we get the rest periods in between right and the recovery because the effort that the players put into the games is very good, and you need that preparation time in between.
“The players played very well on Tuesday and it was a fantastic result for us which was more pleasing after the disappointment of the previous Saturday against Oldham.
“It would have been easy to take that forward into Tuesday’s game but that wasn’t the case and the players done themselves proud in midweek and we want to continue it Saturday.
“We’ve played Port Vale twice now this season, they’ve both been tough games and we expect the same on Saturday.”
There will be fitness checks for Nathan Pond and Tom Elliott, after Pond came off on Tuesday night and Elliott had a niggle.
Meanwhile the transfer window closes on Friday night and there could be a bit of business left to do.
“He [Pond] got a knock, unfortunately, in the challenge that he made so we’re waiting to see if he recovers from that in time, I don’t think it’s anything major but for Pondy to come off the pitch in a game it’s got to be sore.
“We knew we had Liam Hogan ready to go on so we made that decision to bring him on and make sure we had a fully fit team out there so the general fitness of the squad is pretty good.
“The only other one is Tom Elliott who missed Tuesday with a knock from the previous game, which was a bit disappointing because after his start last week it would have been great to have him involved again so we’ll make a judgement on these two on Friday and see how they are.
“I’m hoping it’s an early night but I know how these things work… I think we’ve done good business so far, we’ve still got our eye on a possible other option if possible.
“Whether that gets done in time or not I don’t know, or if it gets done at all, so it’ll be dependant on if we get that done or not.
“Unless something comes up last minute that’s different, we’ll have to assess that, but obviously the time’s running out and we will be preparing with what we have.
“We’ll have prepared for Port Vale tomorrow and by tomorrow night hopefully our business is done, our game is all prepared for and we’re ready to go and compete on Saturday.”