Tom Pope backs Gary Roberts to make impact at Port Vale

Port Vale midfielder Gary Roberts
Roberts has scored five goals for Port Vale this season

Port Vale striker Tom Pope is confident that midfielder Gary Roberts still has a big role to play at the club.

Roberts, 24, was suspended by the League Two club after failing to report for a training session and returned as a substitute at Oxford on Saturday.

"He's got his head down and, after what he did, that's what you'd expect him to do," Pope told BBC Radio Stoke.

"I don't think it's gone unnoticed by the manager. He's just got to keep playing in the reserves and work hard."

Pope added: "He's got Gary back in the squad so if he keeps his head down it will only be a matter of time before he's back in the team.

"Everyone knows how big he is to the squad, he's a player of the highest quality."

Roberts was suspended for two weeks on 19 September for what the club described as a serious breach of club discipline.

He replaced Doug Loft for the final 14 minutes at the Kassam Stadium and played the full 90 minutes in a 1-0 defeat for the reserves against Derby on Monday.

Before his suspension, the former Crewe trainee was in excellent goalscoring form.

"He got five goals in 11 games before he did what he did, so he adds goals as well as creating goals," said Pope.

"If he can keep his head right, there's no reason why he can't get up to double figures for the season and have a massive impact on the squad."

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