Tom Pope is set to face the club he supported as a boy for the first time as a Bury player this weekend, and Port Vale are well aware of the threat that he poses.
Pope, who scored 59 league goals for the Valiants across five seasons, could be in line for a start at Gigg Lane on Saturday after opening the scoring against Sheffield United last week.
Bury’s joint-top league scorer turned down a new contract at Port Vale to move to the Shakers on a free transfer this summer.
In the build up the game his former manager Rob Page expressed regret that Pope did not stay with the club he supported as a boy.
Speaking to the Stoke Sentinel, Page explained: “Whenever you have someone of Tom’s quality then you want to keep them.
“Myself and the chairman did our best to keep him at the club. We wanted him to stay, but when there is a better offer elsewhere it comes down to the individual and he chose to leave.
“You don’t fault him for that at all. We thank him for what he has done for the club and, apart from Saturday, wish him all the best for his future.”
Bury are currently enjoying a strong string of results in the league, having defeated Walsall and Sheffield United in consecutive away matches, to climb up to ninth in the table.
A first home win this weekend could lift the Shakers into the playoff places at the early stage of the season, following indifferent results from the opening few games.
Ahead of the match, Port Vale captain Carl Dickinson highlighted Pope as a potential danger man and predicted that he will form a focal point of Bury’s attack.
Speaking to the club, Dickinson said: “They are going to work hard, get in people’s faces and they’re going to be delivering a lot of balls into the box, especially with [Pope] up front.
“He’s got off to a good start, he’s scored some goals already. We know what a threat he can be and it’s up to us to go there on Saturday and make sure we work hard ourselves, stop them from playing and stop them from getting balls in the box.”
Image courtesy of Bury FC via YouTube, with thanks.