Oxford United’s fans can play a big part in helping Chris Wilder’s young team to try to topple league leaders Port Vale today.

That’s the belief of United’s manager, as he relishes two big home games in eight days, with good-sized crowds expected at the Kassam Stadium today and next Saturday when Aldershot are the visitors.

Vale, four points clear at the top of npower League Two, have won all four away games this season, and will bring a big following, so a 7,000-plus gate seems certain.

Wilder said: “They’re two great games coming up and both opponents will bring big support. We’ve nothing to lose as we’re newcomers and these are the kinds of games we’re rewarded with for promotion to the Football League.

“I’m sure our support will raise its standard and raise its noise level,” he said. “They’ve been terrific in the two away games this week.

“Everybody’s expecting Port Vale to come and get a result, with the winning run they’ve had and with the problems we’re having with injuries.

“But we’ll play with great enthusiasm and energy, and if we can get the crowd right behind us that could really lift us and drive us on. We’ve got to start well and play at a tempo.”

He added: “We are a young side. The team we had out at Cheltenham had only 180-odd Football League appearances between them, and of that, Asa Hall had 60.

“But you’ve got to see how these players go on.”

James Constable returns from his one-match ban after getting a red card at Crewe seven days ago and missing the 1-1 draw at Cheltenham.

So Wilder, who played under Vale boss Micky Adams when he was at Brighton, will choose two out of three from Jack Midson, Tom Craddock, Alfie Potter and Matt Green for the other forwards places.

The U’s will assess the fitness of Anthony Tonkin who missed the Cheltenham game due to illness.

If he fails to make it, Steve Kinniburgh will continue at left back.

Goalkeeper Ryan Clarke is expected to play after having had treatment on the fingers he injured making saves at Whaddon Road.

Mark Creighton (toe), Damian Batt (ankle), Jake Wright (back) and Rhys Day (tendonitis) are sidelined.

Vale are bidding to achieve their sixth straight clean sheet in the League since 1928. They look set to be unchanged.

Wilder added: “Young players will always give you energy and enthusiasm. And I expect them to go out without fear and have a right go at it.

“We’re a dangerous team and we need to make sure that if Port Vale are to get a result that they really have to go through the mill for it.”

The sides last met in 2001 when Port Vale were the final visitors to the Manor Ground.

Oxford Utd: (from) Clarke, Purkiss, Worley, Franks, Tonkin, Heslop, Payne, Hall, Craddock, Constable, Midson, Potter, Green, Kinniburgh, Deering, Clist, Baker, Eastwood, Cole.

Port Vale: (from) Tomlinson, Yates, McCombe, Owen, Collins, Fraser, Giffith, Roberts, Rigg, J Richards, M Richards, Martin, R Taylor, K Taylor, Dougloft, Johnson, Dodds, Sutton.