Tom Pope: Port Vale striker setting the right example for manager Neil Aspin
In-form Port Vale striker Tom Pope's contribution to the improving League Two side is more than just goals, says manager Neil Aspin.
After making a summer return to his boyhood club, Pope had failed to find the net prior to manager Michael Brown's sacking on 17 September.
But, since the appointment of Aspin, Pope has scored seven times in as many matches.
"He does what you expect your centre-forward to do," Aspin told BBC Stoke.
"He is the focal point of the team. A big player. He sets an example to everybody else.
"He works hard, he occupies the opposition's two centre-halves and he's getting goals. You really can't ask for any more."
Since hitting 33 goals in one season to fire Micky Adams' Vale side to promotion to League One in 2012-13, Pope has struggled to match that sort of potency in front of goal.
But this is his best scoring run since - and his timely tally of seven goals have helped lift Vale from bottom in mid-September to 21st, two points clear of trouble and six ahead of bottom side Chesterfield.
Tom Pope's league goal record
- 2006-09: 17 goals in 56 appearances (League One)
- 2009-11: 4 goals in 53 appearances (League Two)
- 2010-11: 3 goals in 13 games (League Two, on loan from Rotherham)
- 2011-12: 5 goals in 41 games (League Two)
- 2012-13: 31 goals in 46 games (League Two)
- 2013-14: 12 goals in 43 games (League One)
- 2014-15: 8 goals in 33 games (League One)
- 2015-17 10 goals in 73 games (League One)
- 2017-18: 7 goals in 15 games (League Two)