Port Vale: Forgotten man Darren Murphy set to claim midfield start against Wycombe
FORGOTTEN man Darren Murphy could be in line to make his full debut for Port Vale tomorrow.
The Irish midfielder has yet to start this season after signing for the club in the summer.
But he looks set to make his midfield bow against Wycombe Wanderers at Vale Park (3pm).
Ryan Burge (knee) has joined Doug Loft (calf) on the sidelines, and with Sam Morsy serving a one-match ban for picking up five bookings, Vale's options in the middle are limited.
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So it's just as well, says assistant boss Mark Grew, below, that Murphy has made a return to fitness.
The former Stevenage star, aged 27, has been plagued by hamstring problems since arriving in July and has made just one substitute appearance so far – in the 3-1 win at Morecambe in August.
But he came through the reserves' 4-0 midweek victory over Wrexham and looks to be in pole position to start, probably alongside Chris Shuker.
"Darren got through 70 minutes on Wednesday and did well, so he's put himself back in contention," said Grew.
"Ryan and Doug are ruled out, and with Sam suspended, we're fortunate Darren has come through his injury and had some time on the pitch.
"We do have options, without question, but it's about picking the right one that will help us beat Wycombe.
"Louis Dodds has played in midfield plenty of times and Kingsley James has been pushing for a place.
"We'll sit down, discuss one or two things and make the adjustments we think are right.
"Wycombe are big strong side, especially at the back and set-pieces, so we need to be ready to defend those."
The results of a scan on the knee problem Burge picked up in Monday's 3-0 win against Oxford on Monday show the injury is not as bad as first feared.
Burge and skipper Loft could be back in contention quite quickly, though neither will be considered for tomorrow or Tuesday's game at Burton.
"Ryan opened up his knee joint," added Grew.
"There is bruising and swelling to the ligament, but it's not torn, so we hope he'll miss two or three games, rather than four or six.
"Doug is a quick healer and making progress. He'll perhaps be back a week on Saturday."
Grew confirmed Sean McAllister would remain on trial with the club after the former Shrewsbury midfielder scored in the reserve-team victory in midweek.
"Sean is a good player and we're having a look at him," said Grew. "I'm amazed he hasn't found a club before now.
"We can't offer him anything at the moment and he knows that. But there could be something down the line when the takeover is complete. We'll have to see."
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