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Neil Aspin investigating other options to take pressure off leading goalscorer Tom Pope

22 October 2018

Manager Neil Aspin does not shy away when it comes to saying how important Tom Pope is to squad in terms of scoring goals, but is looking at alternative options to help add more goals to the side.

The Valiants would've struggled to keep their league status last season had it not been for Popey's goals. The striker scored 19 league goals the previous season and is once again the leading goalscorer in the new campaign with five goals and an assist. 

There is no doubt that Pope is an important figure both on and off the pitch, and his goal contribution at the club has got the team out of a fair few sticky situations. This type of scenario is one Neil Aspin is keen to avoid and wants to take that type of pressure off the captains shoulders. 

Luke Hannant and Ben Whitfield close closest to Popey so far this season, both currently sitting on two goals each. Strikers Ricky Miller and Idris Kanu have only found the net once so far this season in the league, something the gaffer wants improving especially when the Pope is out injured but understands the difficulties behind this. 

"I don't like to cope without Tom Pope, that's why I always want him playing and that's why I pick him all the time! The question is, we must cope without Pope and must get somebody who can do the job that Tom Pope can do, and that is very difficult.

"Every team in the league wants a striker who can score goals, and we have to find one. It's not easy because everyone wants one but we must strive to get forwards at the club that can do that job.

"We've brought in other players but you probably need four strikers that can score goals, that's what you'd like to have at the club. Four strikers who can score, then if one or two are injured then you've got other strikers. But to get four strikers that can score goals is very difficult. 

"We must look, we must strive to get more strikers into the club who can give us more options in terms of scoring goals.

With a trip to Stevenage to focus on tomorrow evening, amazingly the gaffer confirmed that he has no new injury concerns heading into the fixture which has been a rare luxury so far this season.

It was an extremely physical game against Oldham at the weekend and it was clear to see that some players picked up a fair few bumps and bruises along the way. Connell Rawlinson was forced off for a few minutes after head injury and Theo Vassell looked to be struggling at one point.

Neil Aspin however confirmed that they were minor injuries and with a smile on his face was pleased to say that he is free to pick players for tomorrow evening that were involved in the squad on Saturday. Manny Oyeleke and Cristian Montano are not ready to return as of yet.

"Well it's pleasing that I've come in today and there's been no reaction to Saturday because there was obviously a few people who were battered and bruised and a few tired legs.

"There was nothing that I can see that will affect what team I can put out Tuesday so I'm pleased to get through that game unscathed.

"(Oyeleke and Montano) Not only are they unavailable in the short term, we've got a reserve game that they will need to play in and they've also got a Checkatrade game as well so hopefully by the time we come to select them they've had at least one game."


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