Port Vale: Defensive poser for Valiants boss Micky Adams
GARETH Owen could be brought in from the cold to plug a gap in Vale's defence.
The experienced centre-half is battling with Joe Davis to replace the suspended Clayton McDonald at Northampton Town tomorrow (2pm).
The Valiants are expecting to come under an aerial test from the direct Cobblers and Owen's physical presence might win him the nod. ahead of youngster Joe Davis.
The 30-year-old, who signed from Stockport in 2008, has been frustrated by a lack of opportunities, having featured just once – as a substitute in the home win against Rotherham – this season.
"We've an injury and suspension in defence and there's a chance now for the players that have been patient on the bench," he said.
"Gareth has been to see me on a number of occasions and asked to go out on loan.
"I understand his frustration, but I'm having to operate with a 21-man squad and I can't bring anyone in.
"I asked him to wait until the takeover has been completed.
"He might get an opportunity in the team now. We'll have a look at it."
Davis, meanwhile, is the other option to replace McDonald, who picked up his fifth booking of the season at Burton in midweek.
The 18-year-old has barely figured since being substituted at half-time in the opening game of the season against Burnley in the Capital One Cup.
But he did well as a late substitute at the Pirelli Stadium on Tuesday to help earn the Valiants a point.
"He's not the biggest of centre-halves, but in terms of enthusiasm and commitment, Joe has not let anybody down, so we've got two good options," said Adams.
Right-back Richard Duffy is set for a couple of weeks on the sidelines after suffering an ankle injury at Burton. Adam Yates is his likely replacement tomorrow.
But skipper Doug Loft (calf) is not yet ready to return.
Match preview: Page 51