Burton Albion travel the relatively short distance to Vale Park this evening in a potentially season-defining match; 7:45pm start.
Vale currently sit second in npower League 2, whilst Burton harbour their own promotion hopes; the Brewers currently fifth and just a point behind third-placed Northampton Town.
Despite the obvious magnitude of the game as the 2013/14 campaign reaches a fascinating finale; boss Gary Rowett is not getting too carried away with the hype.
‘People have made a point of how big the game is this evening, however when you get to this stage of the season all games are big; in that respect we’ll be treating it like any other.
‘We played out a really entertaining draw against them earlier in the season and we’ll go into the game prepared with an understanding of what they are all about’ explains Rowett.
‘They’re a strong, tough team with some very good individual players such as Jennison Myrie-Williams and Tom Pope and we’ll obviously respect them.
‘However we just need to make sure we put in a good performance and play with no pressure on us; this evening’s match isn’t the be all and end all and we need to continue to do what we have done all season.’
The Brewers’ magnificent record-breaking run of nine straight home wins was ended by Chesterfield last Saturday before disappointment ensued on Bank Holiday Monday as hosts Accrington grabbed a last-gasp equaliser.
However Rowett is philosophical and believes the result could look a good one come the end of the season.
‘Having gone a goal down early on, there is always the risk of losing the match and suffering back to back defeats and that’s obviously not what you want heading into the Port Vale match so not losing the game was important.
‘It was obviously disappointing to not take the three points with Accrington scoring so late on, but it’s another point to add to the total and means we head into this evening’s game still challenging and in good shape.’
With the league as tight as ever coming into the final rounds of fixtures, the Brewers still entertain realistic hopes of an automatic promotion spot.
Whilst Rowett maintains the players’ eyes are very much on the prize, he believes it’s also important for Burton to consolidate a strong current position in the play-off places.
‘Clearly we’re still looking at the top three and we’ll keep fighting hard for that. However we also need to make sure we keep getting the points to maintain our position in the play-offs.
‘There are still teams below is battling hard for a play-off place so every point we pick up, such as the one at Accrington, is important.’
After this evening’s game, Burton return to action at the Pirelli Stadium on Tuesday evening, 7:45pm kick-off, with Wycombe Wanderers the visitors in a rescheduled game.
Although focus remains with the Port Vale clash, it does give the Burton manager food for thought in terms of team selection.
‘The only difference really is that we’re not in a position to take any risks with players. Every game is important and every game is one you want to win but you have to assess each match individually’ he explains.
‘We’ve tended to stick with a pretty settled team at home due to our form at the Pirelli Stadium, but on the road we’ve tendered to tinker a little bit in order to get results; as we did on Monday at Accrington.’
Burton Albion supporters can purchase tickets for this evening’s game on the gate at Vale Park.