Marc Richards is expected to have recovered from a dead leg in time to be fit for Port Vale`s must-win home clash against bottom side Stockport.

The 21-goal striker missed training at the start of the week having emerged from last Saturday`s goalless draw at Torquay nursing the complaint, but he should again be leading the line this weekend as Vale aim to record a precious victory.

The Burslem outfit currently sit three points outside the play-off places with four matches remaining but have won just one of their previous nine, six of which have come under the leadership of caretaker manager Mark Grew.

Grew could opt to name the same XI who started at Plainmoor as the Valiants claimed a valuable away point, although the likes of Gary Roberts, Kris Taylor, Lewis Haldane and Sean Rigg are all pushing for recalls.

Midfielder Doug Loft will not play again this season having ruptured his hamstring.

Stockport caretaker boss Ray Mathias will assess the fitness of several players.

Midfielder Paul Turnbull missed last weekend`s defeat to Shrewsbury while defensive pair Aaron Brown and Mansour Assoumani picked up knocks at the Greenhous Meadow and will be checked along with striker Mat Paterson.

Mathias will definitely be without midfielder Greg Tansey as he serves the second match of a two-game ban.

County lie eight points adrift of safety with only four matches remaining and are seemingly doomed.

Yet Mathias says his men can take heart from their spirited second-half display in the defeat at Shrewsbury.

He said: "We haven't given up yet, you can be sure of that. I think the second-half performance at Shrewsbury proves that."


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