Evans wary of threat from former Miller Pope

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IF the fates had been different, Port Vale’s likely striking duo could easily have been lining up for opponents Rotherham United at Vale Park this afternoon.

Millers’ record signing Tom Pope – who headed back to the Potteries permanently after an undistinguished spell in South Yorkshire in August 2011 – and Ashley Vincent, someone Steve Evans went close to signing in the summer, are set to spearhead Vale’s attack and the United boss admits both are a handful.

On Vale, back on the market after a deal with prospective new owner Keith Ryder, a Lancashire-based businessman, fell through, Evans said: “Off the pitch, it’s carnage and I feel sorry for Micky Adams. But he’s signed some terrific players.

“They have got the likes of Tom Pope and Ashley Vincent – who we tried to sign – up front. It was amazing, we couldn’t afford him and he goes to Port Vale and we are the so-called ‘big spenders’.

“There were also three last week at Bradford who we tried to sign who we couldn’t afford.

“Pope is lively, moves around well, gets a goal and is big and holds the ball up really well. I can’t see why it didn’t work out (at Rotherham), because the chairman and manager here at the time paid good money for him.

“He’s also got a quality player alongside him who has had a bad 18 months with injury in Vincent. He came up here from Colchester with Kayode Odejayi for a chat and at one stage we thought we had got him. But up pop the Potteries boys to sign him.

“Those two are a handful for any defence. But Vale have seven or eight top, top players for League Two and I expect them to be in the top 10. Circumstances off the pitch will make the decision whether Micky can kick them onto the top six. But if we go there and perform, we’ll win.”

The Millers are chasing their first win on the road this term, but Evans insists they could easily have been looking at a six-point haul on their travels already as opposed to a solitary point they have accrued from their two away games.

He added: “Even the Martians up above us knew we should have beaten Northampton. But we lost and had to take it on the chin.

“We should have won 4-2 at Chesterfield as well on the balance of play.”

With Kari Arnason on international duty, Johnny Mullins is set to step in today. Nicky Hunt and Dale Tonge are available again along with new signing Craig Morgan.

Last six games: Port Vale WDWLWL, Rotherham LWDLWD.

Last time: Port Vale 2 Rotherham United 0; October 1, 2011; League Two.

SkyBet odds: Port Vale to win 13-8, draw 23-10, Rotherham to win 8-5.

Referee: M Russell (Hertfordshire).

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