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Doubters fall on deaf ears for captain Tom Pope

8 October 2019

Leading league goalscorer post-war, 100 plus goals in all competitions and all time leading goalscorer at Vale Park. With a promotion with the club he loves as well on top of all that, Tom Pope says he pays no attention to those who continue to doubt his ability.

The 34 year old started and captained the Vale at the weekend in a 3-1 win over Morecambe, where the striker marked the occasion with a brace to help secure all three points, making it three goals in six starts for Pope this season.

Compared to the past few seasons since his return to the club in May 2017, the start to this season will have been an indifferent experience for Popey. With Askey emphasising the need to take the weight of scoring all the goals off the shoulders of Popey, the gaffer signed three new strikers over the summer which has seen Popey have a limited amount of starts in the league.

Accepting that he can't start every game if he's not scoring and other strikers are, Pope says he isn't bothered by those trying to put him down as he looks to continue increasing his goal tally for the season.

"I've been proving people wrong all my career. I think people can't wait to tell me I'm past it just so they can say I told you so. I know if the teams playing well then the goals will come.

"With the wingers we've got like Dave Amoo, Wozza [David Worrall], Monty [Cristian Montano], Rhys Browne, if the teams playing well and we're getting crosses into the box I still don't believe there's anybody better to try and get on the end of them.

"People keep saying 'Tom Pope can't play on his own up front anymore', but in my opinion there's nobody better that can play on his own up front. I don't think there's anybody better out there who knows how to play the lone striker as well as I do."

Since being reintroduced into the starting 11 against Mansfield Town towards the end of September, Vale are yet to lose a game and haven't done in the six games Popey has started in.

The striker opened his account for the season on the opening day away at Colchester United from the penalty spot and added two more to his tally at the weekend. 

Through the dry period of goals, Popey found himself in and out of the team and as much as he would like to be out there scoring goals for the Vale, he says he has no argument for being on the bench when the team is playing well.

"If the teams performing you haven't got a leg to stand on! At the end of the day we're a team, there's 20 odds players and it's not all about me.

"I don't expect to play every minute of every game and be the main man, that's not what I'm about. We had it before when Jordan Hugill came in, I got put on the bench and he scored some goals, I don't mind that.

"Richie Bennett has come in and done really well. I have no argument when you go and beat Forest Green Rovers like we did and perform as well as we did, you have to hold your hands up and say great performance from the lads and I'm the first one to go in there and congratulate them all."

 


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