Port Vale: Big Ben looks to take leaf out of Pope's book
BEN Williamson is hoping to help fire Port Vale to promotion by following in the footsteps of striker Tom Pope.
The 23-year-old has looked on, often from the sidelines, as Pope became the fastest-ever Port Vale player to net 20 goals in a season with his midweek hat-trick against Bristol Rovers.
Now he's hoping the terrific form shown by his team-mate can rub off on him.
Fellow frontman Williamson has been something of a super-sub this term, having netted four times after coming off the bench.
But he celebrated a rare start by scoring the third goal in the 4-0 win against Bristol Rovers and is desperate to continue his scoring habit at struggling Aldershot tomorrow.
"I haven't started many games so far (four), but I've got five goals in total, so that's not bad," he said.
"I've been used as a substitute quite a lot and whenever I've come on, I've just tried to do what I can to make the manager notice me.
"I've scored a few times as a sub and again when I was given a chance on Tuesday.
"Hopefully, I did enough to keep my place in the team and I can keep finding the net like Popey has.
"To get 20 goals already is amazing really."
Williamson, who joined Vale initially on loan from non-league Hyde United in July 2011, bagged just three goals in his first full season with the club.
But he reckons the sky is the limit with the prolific Pope alongside him.
"Tom is playing so well at the moment that it's rubbing off on the rest of the players," he said.
"He's done fantastically well this season and all credit to him.
"He's too good in the air and he's frightening defences, you could see that on Tuesday.
"He loves a moan every now and then, but what striker doesn't? They all want service and he's had that thanks to our two wingers.
"He's been thriving off that and a record of 20 goals already speaks for itself – we're not even halfway through the season.
"It's an inspiration and it makes me want more too."
Third-from-bottom Aldershot have won just once at the EBB Stadium this season and their record of just two goals in nine games at home shows why.
But Williamson insists Vale will take nothing for granted.
"They got a great result at Burton in midweek (a 1-0 win) and they'll be buzzing from that," he said.
"They'll be fighting for a result and it will be another tough game for us. They want the three points as much as we do.
"But we'll go down there with confidence."
Williamson was delighted to see new owners Paul Wildes and Norman Smurthwaite complete their takeover of the club this week.
"We've been in administration for nine months and it has dragged on and on," he said.
"It's great that everything has finally been sorted out and now we can look forward to a brighter future at last."
Shots boss Dean Holdsworth is taking unusual steps to shake his side out of their slumber on their own patch.
He's holding an open training session at the ground today in a bid to improve the confidence of his players.
"I want to work hard in front of our fans," he explained.
"Hopefully, fans will come down and watch the training session and that might help the players to build confidence and score goals at home.
"It's a different initiative, but we can get better if we're more confident at home."