Tom Pope unhappy with criticism from Port Vale fans

Port Vale striker Tom Pope
Tom Pope scored the winning goal for Vale against Bradford on Tuesday

Tom Pope has described criticism of his performances from a minority of Port Vale supporters as "unjustified".

The striker, a boyhood Vale fan, has scored twice in 10 games since his free transfer from Rotherham in August.

"I've never once stated that I'm an out-and-out goalscorer and the manager [Micky Adams] knew that when he signed me," Pope told BBC Radio Stoke.

"I think a lot of people are getting frustrated and making a lot of comments that are unjustified."

The 26-year-old continued: "My game doesn't rely on goals. I'll help create chances and goals for other people and with the goals that the midfielders and Sean Rigg have scored this season, it's proving that I'm doing that.

"Adam Le Fondre got 30-odd goals last season and 20-odd playing up front with me. Nicky Maynard did the same at Crewe.

"I'm not saying I've contributed everything to their game because they're great players but I feel I help my strike partners out. I do the nitty-gritty and the dirty stuff."

Pope also believes that the criticism extends to other players within the Vale squad, even though the club are currently third in League Two.

"I think there's a lot of negativity going around at the moment from certain fans, which you can expect. Not so long ago, we were in the Championship.

"Bar the Southend game, which we probably could have nicked a point from, we've dominated pretty much every game that we've played.

Defender Adam Yates supported Pope's comments, telling BBC Radio Stoke: "Everyone's entitled to their opinions and some people have been on Tom Pope's case regarding his goal return, yet they're not turning up at the games.

"His work rate is phenomenal and I would never criticise him. He doesn't look the most tidy footballer sometimes but he certainly causes problems.

"When he scored against Bradford on Tuesday night, you saw the relief in his face. I think that was his swipe back at some of them."

BBC Radio Stoke will have live commentary of Port Vale v Shrewsbury on 94.6FM from 1300 BST on Saturday, 14 September.