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Tom Pope Calls For Consistency

24 February 2015

Forward Thinks Signs Are 'Encouraging'

Striker Tom Pope reckons Port Vale now need to concentrate on being as consistent as possible for the rest of the season after back-to-back wins.

Rob Page’s side have put Walsall and Doncaster Rovers to the sword in their last two Sky Bet League One fixtures.

Those two positive results came on the back of four difficult games, which saw Vale pick up one point from a possible twelve.

Speaking to the press on Tuesday afternoon, Pope insisted the Valiants aren’t setting themselves any specific targets but says a good run of form wouldn’t go amiss.

“I think we need consistency, cutting out the errors,” he said. “I don’t think there will be any targets in mind; we will just take each game as it comes.

“Obviously if we can keep cutting out those mistakes and errors then we’ve got a good chance of winning games, as we’ve shown in the last couple of weeks.

“We’ve had a couple of clean sheets for the defence, I’m sure that’s given them a lot of confidence, and I think with the attacking players we’ve got, we feel we can score goals.

“There’s no longer that feeling now where we need to score three or four goals to win a game of football.

“We’ve been getting the early goals, which has been crucial, we’ve been leading the game and we feel like we can defend it now.

“So I think on the whole it’s been quite encouraging.”

Pope came back from a three-month spell out through injury in January when he came on as a substitute in the home loss to Crewe Alexandra.

The striker has started each of Vale’s last five games since his return against the Railwaymen and thinks he is finally getting back to his best.

“It’s feeling a lot stronger,” he commented. “It takes a while when you have been out for so long, only playing a 60 minute reserve game and then being thrown in.

“I think the injuries and that meant I was playing 90 minutes when Pagey would have tried to give me 60 minutes or so.

“But I’m feeling the benefits of doing them now. I feel like my fitness is coming on, I feel a lot stronger and over the next couple of weeks hopefully it’ll be back to 100 per cent.”

Since the return of Byron Moore to the first team, manager Rob Page has opted to start with the 26-year-old and Mark Marshall on opposing wings.

It’s a tactic that worked to full effect both at Banks’s Stadium against Walsall and at home to Paul Dickov’s Doncaster.

“When you have got a pitch this big, you feel like you’re cheating yourself if you don’t play with wingers,” Pope said.

“I think it’s perfect for a winger; it’s a big pitch and getting the ball out wide for your wide men, it’s a great advantage to have.

“I think with Byron having the start he has had, it’s been very difficult and we haven’t really got two out and out wingers.

“I know Colin [Daniel] can play out there but we’ve been trying to keep it tight over the last few months.”

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