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DF pre-Vale

8 November 2016

Gaffer wants to progress in Checkatrade Trophy with win over Valiants at home.

Darren Ferguson is looking for his side to seal progression through to the next stage of this season’s Checkatrade Trophy when League One Port Vale visit on Tuesday night.

Rovers are unbeaten in the revamped competition and are looking, after their FA Cup Round One exit to Oldham, to push on in a competition they won back in 2007.

“It’s a game I want to win,” noted Ferguson. 

“I want to get back to winning ways and get through to the next phase of this tournament.

“I think we’ve spoken a few times now but I want to go as far as I can in the tournament, I see no reason why I shouldn’t say that.

“There’s been a lot of talk about it but it's been good for us and that’s all that concerns me.

“They (Vale) have got a massive squad, a lot of foreign players that they brought in quickly in the summer. 

“They're actually doing really well and it’s difficult to say to our players that we think they're going to play this one or that one so we’ll base it on what they did against Derby and the formation they’ve been playing.”

Ferguson will continue to rotate the squad at his disposal as much as he can afford to, with run outs likely to be given to Frazer Richardson, Craig Alcock, Paul Keegan, Alfie Beestin and Liam Mandeville. Defender Andy Butler, who wasn’t in line for an appearance anyway, definitely won’t play after an unfortunate collision in the Latics clash.

“He had an x-ray after the game, there’s no break so its good news,” Ferguson confirmed. 

“He was in a lot of pain, there’s a lot of bruising but there’s no break so that’s the most important thing. He took a hell of a knock off the goalkeeper, he caught his knee right on his spine and he was in a bit of distress after the game. 

“He’ll be fine for Saturday, he’s a tough boy and it takes a lot for him to go down. He’ll train on Thursday we’d expect so we’re fairly confident that he’ll be fit for Saturday. He won’t be involved.

“It gives me opportunities to play the players that have not been in the team, it gives them match time. It’s been a good tournament like Alfie Beestin who I can gradually ease in. 

“It’s been good for us as a club I feel. It’s a good tournament and I’ll treat it the same. I’ve won it as a manager and a player and I know what it can bring to the team and the club and the community if you go all the way and we’ll try and go as far as we can but I’ve got to be mindful that we know what the number one target is.”

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