Sheffield United’s Chris Basham is hoping his return to Port Vale today has a better ending than his last trip to the Potteries.
The 27-year-old was sent off for the first time in his career last season as the Blades crashed to a 2-1 Boxing Day defeat at Vale.
A late penalty from Dany N’Guessan did the damage, with Basham seeing red after a challenge on former Blades midfielder Michael Brown.
“I was enjoying the game at Port Vale, playing centre-half,” he recalled. “It was a cold, snowy day, and it was a bit of a lunge tackle.
“I still don’t think it was a red card, but it was given. It was the first red card of my career and hopefully it won’t happen again.
“He got sent off at our ground, but there’s no hard feelings.
“Everyone knows he’s a very experienced player, the fans love him.
“I have played against him nine or 10 times and we have always had a battle.”
Basham has relished being stand-in captain for Jay McEveley, although he admitted having the armband has not changed his approach to games.
“I’m enjoying it,” he said. “It was nice to get a goal (against Doncaster) with the armband on.
“Jay is our captain, but the gaffer gave me the privilege the last two games and it’s been an honour.
“Jay knows he will be captain when he plays and when he doesn’t, hopefully the gaffer chooses me.
“All I do different is say heads or tails. I always go for tails.”
The Blades are in the play-off positions following the midweek draw at leaders Burton Albion.
On the back of a 2-2 draw at Bradford City, and a 3-1 home win over Doncaster Rovers, Basham believes United need to put an extended unbeaten run together to challenge the top two.
“We went to Burton, who were top of the league, and played a very good formation,” he said. “Coming after the Doncaster result, we got a draw, and hopefully we can come away from Port Vale and make it seven points in a week.
“A lot of the in-form teams – after 10 games – are very fresh and playing well. I still don’t think we have hit 100 per cent, but we are very close to it.
“Once we do, we have got to go on more than four games on the bounce (unbeaten), it has to be nine or 10. That can close the difference at the top.”
Blades manager Nigel Adkins, whose side face seven games this month, said: “At this moment, we’re not looking at the bigger picture. Just the next game and trying to get three points.”