Having been recently crowned as Sky Bet League Two’s Player of the Month for October, Tom Pope will head into Friday’s clash with Newport in high spirits.
Despite admitting that it is brilliant to win the award after scoring six goals in Vale’s five league games, Pope acknowledges that without his teammates, it wouldn’t have been possible.
“We’ve always been hard working, myself included, but I think my running has actually come down since the start of the season.
“The manager has told me to stay down the middle, concentrate on the centre-halves and work between the goalposts.
“It has probably more work for my teammates and more running for them, but we’ve been winning games of football and my award is a reflection on the team and how hard they’ve worked to create chances for me.”
With eight goals to his name in all competitions so far this season, the striker was always confident that he could start finding the net frequently.
“I always believe I can score goals,” he said.
“The thing with me is I can create opportunities for my teammates or I can score if I’m the main striker.
“I’ve had plenty of doubters throughout my career, but I always knew that if I’m the main target and people are creating chances, I can score goals - I’ve never had any doubts about that.”
Ahead of the game away to a County side who sit just outside the play-offs in Sky Bet League Two, Pope also took time to praise young goalkeeper, Ryan Boot.
On the 23-year-old’s kicking, he said: “It makes a massive difference to know that your ‘keeper can kick well in my position.
“When you’ve got a goalkeeper who can drive a ball across three quarters of the pitch, you can wait and then get in front of your man to nick it on.
“For my game, it’s great to know that he can get the distance and the consistency too.”