Port Vale are without striker Tom Pope for the visit of Southend but influential centre-back Gareth Owen could return.

Despite having recently penned a loan extension, Pope was recalled by parent club Rotherham, who currently find themselves one point and one place behind the Valiants in the table.

But his loss could in part be offset at the other end of the pitch by the comeback of Owen, who missed last weekend`s 2-0 defeat at Chesterfield having hobbled out of the 2-1 win over Lincoln with a recurrence of his hamstring injury.

Vale are hoping he will not have suffered any reaction upon his return to training on Thursday and Friday of this week.

Fellow centre-back John McCombe and midfielder Doug Loft sustained respective back and knee problems against the Spireites but are expected to be okay.

Southend defender Bilel Mohsni is suspended.

Mohsni offered a surprise boost amid boss Paul Sturrock's mounting injury crisis when he returned after two months out with an ankle problem for Tuesday's meeting with Accrington.

However, the French centre-back received two yellow cards in the 3-1 defeat and is now also ruled out of the Shrimpers' home clash with Bradford on Friday week.

Full-back Miguel Comminges also returned against Stanley and is set to continue after getting 76 minutes under his belt

Left-back Peter Gilbert (hernia) and midfielder Craig Easton (calf) are expected to remain on the treatment table, but 19-year-old striker Harry Crawford is set to return after suffering a broken nose against Aldershot last weekend.

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Topics:
#Doug Loft
#Football
#Port Vale
#Tom Pope
#Craig Easton
#Gareth Owen
#League Two
#Miguel Comminges
#John McCombe
#Peter Gilbert