Tom Pope reflects on a successful start to the season for the Shakers
Speaking after Saturdays 2-1 win against Chesterfield, leading scorer Tom Pope spoke about his role in the team and the spirit that exists within the camp at the moment. After his 85th minute winner to claim all three points, Tom was quick to praise teammate Tom Walker on the quality of the ball delivered to the edge of the box and said:
“It was a great ball from Tom Walker and I managed to get on the end of it, we left it late but what a ball from Walks. It doesn’t matter who gets on the end of them, as long as we are getting the three points.”
After a scrappy game, the lads had to wait and grind the result out against a resilient Chesterfield side and Tom believes the squad is so much better than last season.
“It’s a bit disappointing when you dominate the first half like we did and we go in at half time and it’s one each. Maybe we ran out of steam, they go into the ascendancy a little when they got their goal just before half time.
“The second half was scrappy, their ‘keeper was time wasting, we were sloppy in possession. I think last season, we would have lost that game but we stuck at it and the gaffer freshened it up with some fresh legs on, we left it late but we got the win.
‘The mental attitude from last season is different, the personnel that we have got and the togetherness. There is no animosity, there’s no moaning or bitching. Everyone just gets their head down and works hard.” said Tom.
When asked about his own role within the team, Tom was quick to play his role down and described himself as a complete nuisance to defenders. He said:
“I just enjoy putting an effort in with my team mates. It would be nice if you could just get the ball all game, bring it down on your chest but it doesn’t work like that. There are big solid defenders and you just have to make a nuisance of yourself, that’s all I’ve ever done.
“I just try to give whoever is marking me a hard time, even if you’re not winning the headers or your touch is off, as a target man you just want to ruffle a few feathers, win some free kicks and put them off. I’ve been doing that and it’s something I enjoy the battle.”
With the recent addition of James Vaughan into the squad, Tom was quick to praise Vaughan and quipped that he prefers the quick players to do all the running.
“It helps massively having a player with the calibre of Vaughney alongside you, he works just as hard as I do, he will go up for headers, he will compete and he will tuck the ball in.
“For most of my career I have played with a quick lad that like to run in behind, so you have to compete for every header because there is no point in them trying to head it to get me in behind – there’s no point in that” he laughed.
That togetherness and team spirit that is developing is beginning to show fruit as the lads claimed second spot in the table on Saturday. Tom continued:
“When that goal went in on Saturday, it was just a relief and we all celebrated, we have got that togetherness. It’s a great dressing room with the banter. We are all in this together, we laugh every day, we have a joke, we mess around but at the end when we scored it was more of a relief and we know just what a battle it was and to see a late goal go in like that, it just got everyone buzzing, it’s another win and we move onto the next one.”
His goal brought Gigg Lane into raptures with the 3,012 faithful showing their relief as the three points were claimed and Tom believes the fans can see progress as the players can, saying:
“The fans are on the journey with us. I know my football and Bury have had difficult times over the years with a lot of ups and downs, but with the chairman we’ve got, the gaffer, the staff and the players, I think this club is ready to go to the next level, I really believe that.
Barring a lot of injuries and even though we have had injuries recently, players have come in, got hold of the shirt and they have kept it so I don’t see why this cannot be a successful season”
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