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Page last updated at 12:33 GMT, Thursday, 27 November 2008

Vale bid to exorcise the demons

FA Cup second round: Port Vale v Macclesfield
Venue: Vale Park Date: Friday, 28 November Kick-off: 1945 GMT
Coverage: Full commentary on BBC Radio Stoke 1503AM, score updates on BBC Sport website

By Stephan Shemilt

Ian Brightwell
Ian Brightwell has played and coached at both Port Vale and Macclesfield

Despite the fact that Port Vale and Macclesfield Town are relatively near neighbours, until this season the two clubs had met just twice in their history.

Those two meetings were both in the FA Cup, with Vale running out the victors on both occasions.

However, Saturday, 20 September 2008 marked the first occasion that the Silkmen had ever visited Vale Park in the league, and they left a lasting impression.

The 4-1 defeat of the Valiants was enough to end Lee Sinnott's reign as Vale manager, and despite the relative lack of competitive football between the two clubs, added further strength to the chain that links them together.

Sinnott was replaced as manager by Dean Glover, who later appointed former Macclesfield boss Ian Brightwell as his assistant.

Brightwell, a former Vale player who had already had one spell as number two at the Burslem club, was working as a summariser for BBC Radio Stoke at the time and said that game will have no baring on Friday's cup clash.

"The nature of football is that you move on, the game was lost and the result didn't look good," Brightwell told the station.

"We obviously want to avenge that and also progress to the next round.

"We know it's going to be a tough game, but I think we've got all the qualities in our side to go and win the game."

Brightwell's six months in charge at Moss Rose ended in February, but rather than looking back with disappointment, he said it was a valuable learning experience.

"I learned all sorts of things, mainly involving the outside aspects of the job, like dealing with the board," he said.

"The day-to-day stuff like working with the players I really enjoyed, and I learned the pressures of working under constraints."

Macclesfield are nothing special so it's up to us to prove we're better than them

Louis Dodds
The home hammering at the hands of the Silkmen is the lowest point so far of the Valiants' inconsistent season, and captain Marc Richards said he is looking forward to the chance to gain a measure of revenge.

"We definitely owe them one," said Richards. "The chance to progress in the FA Cup is just a bonus.

"After going 2-1 down, we crumbled like little boys. With the manager departing after that game, it was the toughest part of the season.

"But since then, Deano had come in and we've had something of a revival. The lads are a lot more confident and that's been reflected in the improved results."

That confidence was evident in the Valiants remarkable win over Huddersfield in the FA Cup first round.

From 3-1 down with 11 minutes to go, Vale recovered to win 4-3 and book their place in round two.

Former Leicester forward Louis Dodds scored twice on that day and said he hopes the Burslem club can carry the momentum from that win through to Friday's game at Vale Park.

"Hopefully we can repeat the way we played against Huddersfield, particularly the end of the game, and get into the third round," said Dodds.

hbp123(V2001 Out!!)
"The last game we played against Macclesfield was disappointing so we've got a point to prove. They're nothing special and it's up to us to prove that we're better than them.

"When you get beaten by teams below you it is disappointing so this is a good opportunity to show we are the better side and move into the third round at the same time."

So it seems that from the Vale point of view at least, there is no love lost between the Valiants and the Silkmen.

However some digging into the limited history of the meetings between the two clubs reveals one reason why Vale fans should have a certain place in their hearts for the Cheshire club.

On 10 January 1988, Macclesfield were defeated 1-0 at Vale Park in the third round of the cup to hand then Vale manager John Rudge a result that many believe saved his job.

The Valiants would reach the fifth round of that year's competition, defeating Spurs on the way, and Rudge went on to become the most successful manager in the club's history.

How Sinnott must be wondering what a victory over Macclesfield could have done for him.

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see also
Port Vale v Macclesfield (Fri)
27 Nov 08 |  FA Cup
Brightwell returns to Port Vale
23 Oct 08 |  Port Vale
Port Vale 1-4 Macclesfield
20 Sep 08 |  League Two
Brightwell given Macclesfield job
29 Jun 07 |  Macclesfield

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