Port Vale: Lee Hughes partnership can blossom, says Tom Pope
TOM Pope believes his partnership with Lee Hughes can fire Port Vale to promotion.
The strikers played together for the first time at Gillingham on Saturday and were on target in the 2-1 win which sent the Valiants to the top of the table.
Pope, who claimed his 26th goal of a stunning campaign, says Hughes's strike on his debut can be the first of many.
And he thinks his pairing with the former Notts County man can keep the club at the League Two summit.
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"Hopefully we can score the goals that take us up," said Pope. "I thought we worked well together, but it was only the first time we have played, so there is more to come.
"Lee has vast experience and he's always talking during the game, which helps.
"He's a great bloke and he's fitted in to the dressing room really well already."
But Pope insists his Vale colleagues have crucial roles to play to ensure the duo can strike fear into defences.
"There isn't that much pace between us, so it will depend a lot on the quality of balls we get into the box," he added.
"If the delivery is right, as it has been all season, I'm sure we can score a few goals."
Hughes, aged 36, came in for tremendous stick from the crowd at Gillingham, but Pope says even that can be a positive.
"Lee gets abuse everywhere he goes, but that might work in our favour," he said.
"If opposition fans are giving him stick, that means they're not encouraging their team.
"They were booing him at Gillingham, so they weren't getting behind their lads."
LEICESTER City midfielder Richie Wellens has distanced himself from a loan move to Port Vale.
The 32-year-old has been linked with the Valiants, but it is understood he is unwilling to drop down to League Two.
VALE'S young guns take on Everton in the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup tonight (7pm).
The winners will be away to either Fulham or Arsenal.
Admission at Vale Park is £5 adults and £2 concessions.