Port Vale manager Darrell Clarke has said that fan-favourite Tom Pope will return from a broken arm to feature in the club’s friendly against Hereford this week.
The 35-year-old, who also suffered shoulder ligament damage, has not played since January’s 2-0 Football League Trophy loss to Sunderland.
However, Vale’s post-war record goalscorer is due to get some time on the pitch once again on Monday.
Speaking after the Valiants’ 1-0 at relegation rivals Colchester United – their first away win of 2021 – Clarke told the club’s YouTube channel: “Popey’s going to get some minutes.
“There’ll be a lot of my pros playing who I feel need the game time, and hopefully have them match fit.”
- Clarke hails ‘model pro’ captain Conlon
- More than £1million lost due to pandemic, reveals Port Vale owner
Pope has scored three goals in 14 league games this season, adding to the 112 goals he netted for the club prior to the start of the current season.
Saturday’s win saw top scorer Devante Rodney score in the 19th minute to notch his 12th goal of the season and secure a vital win for the Valiants.
They are now 10 points clear of Southend who occupy the last relegation spot in League Two.
Speaking after the game, Clarke was elated to see his side pick up back to back wins.
“I’m really pleased, my players again deserve all the plaudits,” he said.
“Two real pressure games (Newport County on Tuesday and Colchester on Saturday) on paper, and they come out with the wins they deserve.”
Clarke was also satisfied with his side’s ability to keep their first clean sheet on the road since a 0-0 draw away at Bradford City in December.
“I’m pleased with the flexibility of the players, we were going to play the same system as on Tuesday but we saw they (Colchester) slipped into a diamond so we slipped into a 3-5-2 nice and easily.
“The players defended with their heart and their heads.
“If you can keep clean sheets, or at least keep the score down to nought or one, it gives you every chance at winning games at this level.”
Vale have now climbed to 19th in the League Two table. Their next league fixture sees them travel to Crawley Town next Saturday.
Click to follow Sport in Staffs for all our latest articles on: