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Pope pleased to be back in action

8 October 2020

Tom Pope revealed that he has been itching to return playing for Port Vale after featuring for the first time this season during the Valiants' EFL Cup victory over Wigan Athletic.

The Vale forward was forced to miss out on the club’s first six games of the 2020/21 campaign due to suspension, but started alongside Theo Robinson as Vale cruised to a 3-1 victory at the DW Stadium.

After the game when commenting on finally returning to the starting 11, Pope said: “Yeah, I have been itching. It has been a long time, so it was nice to be back out there with the boys on a matchday.”

The 34-year-old played up front in a 4-4-2 formation against the Latics, a system in which he has not regularly been utilized in for the Vale, but it is something that he believes suited the way the team played yesterday.

“Yeah, when you have got someone like Theo (Robinson) who likes to gamble, Worrall was on form again, he was gambling first half. We could have had five or six and we looked a threat.

“It does take away a bit of the strength in midfield, taking a body away, but I think we looked a lot more dangerous. Last week we had 75% of the ball and we did not really create much, when team’s just sit in there, and we find it difficult.

“So, I thought we were great considering they had a lot of the ball, we certainly had far more chances”.

Prior to the clash against the League One outfit, John Askey named a rotated side as he made eight changes from the team that lost 1-0 against Morecambe last weekend.

Then following an impressive overall display against Wigan, Pope admitted that the manager certainly has been provided with a selection headache in terms of who should start next time out against Carlisle United.

“Yeah that is all you can do when you have got a good squad. When you go out there and put the shirt on you try to do your best and give them food for thought.

“I think most of the players out there gave everything and even when we were down to ten men, players were running everywhere.

“Danny Whitehead was running the channels, we just worked our socks off and it just shows how fit we are as a team and a group, and I am sure the gaffer has got a headache.”

When looking ahead to the club’s fifth league game of the new season at home to Carlisle, Pope said “It is League Two, every game is tough. We fancy winning every game, and I am sure Carlisle will fancy winning it as well.

“If we perform like we did on Saturday [Morecambe], it is going to be a really tough afternoon. If we perform like we did at Exeter and Crawley, then we fancy beating anybody in the league.

“There is nobody that frightens us and hopefully that has given us a bit of confidence going into Saturday now.”


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