‘I don’t judge my game just on goals ‘- Port Vale’s Tom Pope



We don’t have to think too far back for a reminder of what the FA Cup can bring.

Playing in front of 50,000 at Man City in last year’s third round was fantastic for us and our supporters – and made a great change for me having not had many good FA Cup draws in my career.

So, we start again this weekend. Sadly there will be no supporters here but that doesn’t mean this year’s competition is any less important to us than it would be in a normal season. 

In fact it’s arguably more important this year because the prize money at least gives the club a little extra income at a time when all lower division clubs are trying to cope with having had no fans in since March.

Clubs really are missing out when it comes to this year’s FA Cup. For example, season tickets don’t cover cup games and so the clubs would have had the gate money from 4,000 or 5,000 fans at Vale Park.

It’s disappointing but that’s why we are hoping we can get into the second and third round and get a tie where we can hopefully generate some money.

Having said that, we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. King’s Lynn will be looking forward to coming here and, while of course them coming to Vale isn’t on the same scale as us going to Man City, it will still be another good occasion for them having climbed into the National League over the last couple of years.

We’ve watched the video clips and highlights of what they are about and they look a decent side; they certainly pass the ball around well.

So, it’s not going to be easy. As we have seen this season, if we don’t show up then it is going to be a long afternoon. But considering the winning form we are in, we have to look at this game as another game where we can carry on with that momentum.

From my point of view, I want to be playing, as I do in every game. I’m not going to make any secret of that, I’m always disappointed when I’m not in the team. 

But when you have a strong squad then everybody is in the same boat. The difference for me now is that in the past I’ve had the chance to right a wrong. So, if I’ve had a bad game I’ve generally had the chance to go out and put a couple of decent performances together.

But with the competition for places now, one bad game and you can be out of the team. It is down to me to keep the shirt.

I scored two in the win against Southend last week but I don’t judge my game just on scoring. Of course I want to score but it’s not so much about goals with me, I have always been more about getting hold of the ball and bringing players into the game.

Some strikers are more poachers and judge their game on goals – at the top level Ruud van Nistelrooy and Robbie Fowler were two brilliant ones. 

My game is more about hold up play, bringing people into the game trying to bully defenders a bit.  That’s how I judge myself. If I do that, and players are getting up the pitch, then balls will come into the box like last week and then hopefully I can stick one away.

So, sometimes I can have spells where I don’t score but still feel like I am contributing and playing well.

But it can go both ways. I have certainly played in games where we have won 1-0, I have scored the winner but have been dreadful.

I feel I’m quite honest in that respect. If I’ve played badly I’ll come off disappointed regardless of whether I’ve scored.

So, for me it’s about doing well with my all round game so I can keep the shirt. I’m hopeful I can do that. 





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