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Tom Pope claims the arrival of John Askey has been a 'breath of fresh air'

8 February 2019

Since the arrival of John Askey, Tom Pope has hailed the new Vale manager claiming the boss' first few days in charge have been a 'breath of fresh air.'

This weekend's fixture with Cambridge United will not only serve as Askey's first game in charge of Vale, it could also signal the return of captain and top goal-scorer, Tom Pope, as the forward looks to have recovered from a lengthy hamstring injury.

Since Askey's arrival, Pope has been able to return to full training, and the skipper has praised his new manager claiming the players are all working off a clean slate as they look to impress ahead of this weekend's clash with Cambridge.

He said: "They've been great, the training has gone up a notch. That's always the case when a new manager comes in.

"People have got a clean slate really, so lads that have been frozen out or not involved as much as they'd like, have been given a boost. Training has certainly kicked on - a lot more intensity.

"With any manager, they come in and give it a breath of fresh air. Lads that have been playing week-in week-out, have now got to impress the manager to make sure they do the same."

Pope has been sidelined since the disappointing 3-0 defeat to Colchester at Vale Park last month, and he claims he is itching to get back onto the pitch following his four-week lay-off.

The captain has come through a full week of training unscathed and he's hoping his Port Vale side can replicate their heroics of the first day of the season against Cambridge this Saturday.

With this weekend's opponents sitting just one place behind Vale in the league, Pope claims the attitude has to be correct if they are going to get a result.

He said: "You always miss it. Some players enoy the treatment room more than others - I hate it. The sooner I can get back out there the better.

"I haven't had any setbacks with it. It feels okay, I've got through training so whether the gaffer will be willing to do that I don't know. But I've made myself available. 

"We played them (Cambridge United) first game and it was probably the best we've played all season. We know that if we don't turn up we could easily get hammered. We have to make sure our mentality is right and make sure we're good to go. 

"If we apply ourselves right and perform as well as we can, then there's no reason we can't win."


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