Port Vale’s Tom Pope sees an opportunity to climb the table

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Vale striker Tom Pope believes his side’s upcoming run of games is a great chance to climb up Sky Bet League Two.

The Valiants have an abundance of fixtures against teams below them in the division, starting with a home match against Swindon Town this Saturday.

Neil Aspin’s side currently lie in 16th and realistically need to get a run of positive results going if they want to mount a promotion charge.

Before last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at Mansfield, Vale were unbeaten in four league matches and the club captain says the next few weeks will be crucial if they want to have another good spell.

He said: “We’ve had some real tough games even during the run we went on.

“Playing the likes of Bury, going to Stevenage and places like that which are always tough, and we’ve picked up some great points.

“But now we’ve got your Swindons, your Cheltenhams, your Macclesfields, where you can try and put a run together, and certainly in the new year you can be looking at the table and seeing that you’re looking up rather than over your shoulders.

“Starting against Swindon hopefully we can start building towards a decent run again.”

Four goals off a century

With eight goals scored this season, the 33-year-old has a total of 96 career goals for Vale but is far more focused on getting results for his boyhood club than reaching his century.

“If I get to 99 and I get stuck on it for ten weeks then it might do my head in a bit, but it’s never really been a target.

“I just try and go out there and score every time I pull the shirt on and as long as we’re getting three points and winning games of football, if I’m scoring goals as well then that’s an extra bonus.”

Richards’ return

Pope’s former strike partner Marc Richards will make his return to Vale Park for Swindon, where he scored 67 goals for Vale over a five-year spell, and Pope is well aware of the threat he possesses.

“He’s a goalscorer, he always has been, and on his day he’s as good as anybody in the league.

“He’s certainly going to be one that, if he plays, we’ll have to keep our eyes on him.”

 

 

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