Vale deserve full respect - Grant
JONATHAN REDHEAD Norwich City boss Peter Grant insists tonight's opponents Port Vale will be given the same degree of respect Coca Cola Championship leaders Cardiff City received on Saturday.
Norwich City boss Peter Grant insists tonight's opponents Port Vale will be given the same degree of respect Coca Cola Championship leaders Cardiff City received on Saturday.
But the Canaries' starting eleven will be left in no doubt that Grant expects his team to achieve a victory in the Carling Cup against a Port Vale side that stands on the point of making history tonight.
The Valiants, managed by Vale Park legend Martin Foyle, have never gone further than the third round of the League Cup and are lining up City as the team to give them that chance and a possible plum tie against one of the Premiership big boys.
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However, Grant and his side will go into the game on the back of a pair of 1-0 wins and fully confident of progressing past round three for the first time since the 1995/1996 season when a 2-1 defeat to Birmingham City in the following round put paid to any hopes of winning the trophy.
“We are going there for only one thing - to win,” said Grant. “I have seen Port Vale a couple of times this season because they have been doing well and scored goals.
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“They have had some terrific results in that division. They have always been one that has been down near the bottom in recent years, but Martin seems to have got them playing well and scoring goals and getting a bit of confidence and going to places where you least expect them to win.
“I think they have started the season ever so well, but at the end of the day, I will respect every opponent we are playing.
“I will give them the same respect as Cardiff got and everybody else we will give this season.”
Foyle's men felt hard done by after losing at home 2-1 to Huddersfield on Saturday to a couple of late goals.
The Valiants Park side have fallen to ninth in League One after the defeat - their seventh of the season. Four of the losses have come at Vale Park, but they did knock out City's Championship rivals Queen's Park Rangers, 3-2 in the last round and the manager is looking forward to the clash with City.
“It's going to be our hardest game of the season but it's a game we want to rise to. It's a great match for everyone at the club,” he said.
“Norwich are obviously a very good side and we have to give them the utmost respect. They hammered Birmingham, so it's going to be a harder game than against Huddersfield, without any disrespect to them.
“There'll be no problem getting the players up for a game like this. We can come back from the Huddersfield game because I thought we were decent, but we just didn't kill them off.”
And skipper George Pilkington believes the tonight's tie could be the ideal game to get Vale's promotion push firmly back on track.
“It's an easy game to get yourself up for,” the ex-Everton man told the Stoke Sentinel. “They're in a higher division and we should be able to go out there and perform and enjoy it to a certain extent. It'll be a good opportunity to get back to winning ways at home.”
Vale's biggest threat is likely to come from their frontline partnership of Leon Constantine and Akpo Sodje. The pair has scored 12 goals in the league and cup between them, and several clubs have already been rumoured to be looking at Constantine, who has bagged eight goals, ahead of the January transfer window.
Although they have no former Norwich players in their ranks, City fans will be expected to give a less than warm response to former Ipswich Town and Northern Ireland midfielder Danny Sonner, who has been a Vale first-choice this season.