Second and third divisions: Thordarson's return adds spice

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The Independent Football

The return to the Potteries of the former Stoke manager Gudjon Thordarson adds spice to the Second Division's match of the day when leaders Barnsley take on the erstwhile front-runners Port Vale.

The Icelander's team, brimming with optimism after the success of Peter Ridsdale's Oakwell takeover, took over at the top with a 2-0 victory at Chesterfield last weekend, even though Brian Horton's Valiants clawed back a 2-0 deficit to claim a point at Stockport.

Victory today would see Vale move ahead of Barnsley, although Sheffield Wednesday can move to the summit if they defeat Stockport at Hillsborough.

"It is a tasty game, with Gudjon coming back to the Potteries," Horton said. "I get on well with him and he's done a good job, he has got them going. They are a strong side - it's a real top-of-the-table clash."

After Barnsley, Vale face back-to-back away matches at eighth-placed Luton and Bristol City and their captain Sam Collins believes these games could show whether his side can make the play-offs.

Ridsdale, the former Leeds chairman, and millionaire Barnsley fan Patrick Cryne have teamed up with Barnsley Council to sign a £6m deal to buy the club's Oakwell ground from former chairman Peter Doyle. Ridsdale plans to take Barnsley out of administration "hopefully in two weeks" but no later than the end of the month.

Manager Ian Atkins remains cautious ahead of the meeting of his Third Division leaders Oxford United and Mansfield at the Kassam Stadium.

"It's still early but it's certainly better to be top than bottom," said Atkins said.