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Vale hopeful over quartet

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A handful of Port Vale players are expected to shake off minor knocks in time for the opening game of the season at home to Walsall.

Richard Duffy, Michael Brown and Colin Daniel were all rested for Vale's final pre-season friendly against West Brom on Tuesday night while Tom Pope came off at half-time in that game because of a groin strain. However, manager Micky Adams is confident all four will be fit for Saturday.

Carl Dickinson will lead out the team after being given the armband by Adams. The 27-year-old defender, who signed a new two-year contract over the summer, replaces Doug Loft, following the midfielder's departure to Gillingham.

"There were a few contenders for the decision and I had to think long and hard about it," said Adams. "However, I've given it to Carl not only because of his attitude to the games, but also because of the way he conducts himself in and around the place and what he does on the training pitch."

Walsall will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing end to last season when they travel to Vale Park.

The Saddlers picked up just two points from their final six fixtures to finish 13th.

Dean Smith has brought in Tom Bradshaw from Shrewsbury, Jordan Cook from Charlton, Derby's James O'Connor, Craig MacGillivray from Harrogate and Bury's Ashley Grimes to help strengthen his squad.

Sam Mantom managed to return from injury in this week's warm-up clash with Aston Villa and Smith said: "I'm comfortable with where we're at in terms of the squad."

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