Nick Pope staying put to keep up York City surge

Nick Pope

Nick Pope

First published in Sport York Press: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter

YORK City’s on-loan goalkeeper Nick Pope would not welcome a recall from parent club Charlton with ten games of the Sky Bet League Two campaign to play.

The Championship club parted company with manager Chris Powell this week and swiftly appointed former Standard Liege boss Jose Riga as his replacement.

Bottom-of-the-table Charlton are currently in the midst of a relegation battle but there has been no suggestion that Riga intends to summon Pope back.

Even though the Addicks allowed former Tottenham shot-stopper Ben Alnwick to join Leyton Orient during the transfer window, Ben Hamer and ex-Liege net-minder Yohann Thuram-Ulien are still fighting for the first-team gloves.

Pope was left frustrated in November when his first loan spell with the Minstermen was cut short after just two appearances following an injury to Hamer.

It is a situation he wants to avoid happening a second time and Pope said: “I hope I won’t be going back again. I’ve spoken to people down there and there has been no indications that will be happening so, fingers crossed, it will stay like that and I can stay here until May. “

While Charlton have been embroiled in a Championship dogfight for the whole season, Pope has witnessed City climb from the lower regions of League Two to a position two points outside the play-off zone during his second stint.

The 21-year-old shot-stopper is now targeting a tilt at those top-seven positions and believes the key to a successful challenge will be staying in the frame come the beginning of April.

He added: “If somebody had mentioned the play-offs two months ago, then people would have laughed but, now we are in the position we are in, we have got to give it a right go.

“We are taking everything one game at a time but we will have to see where we are with five or six games left and go from there.”

Pope has only conceded one goal in the last six matches and kept seven clean sheets during a dozen outings. He is a member of a back five that has remained unchanged for seven games and, on the team’s miserly form, Pope admitted: “We’re having great times.

“We are on a really good run and doing really well as a back unit so I am enjoying my football.”

The performances of the defence in front of him have meant Pope’s shot-stopping skills have not always been required in recent matches - he did not face a single on-target attempt during last weekend’s 1-0 win at Wimbledon - but the ex-Aldershot and Cambridge loan man has relished the number of crosses into his box, delivered by a clutch of direct opponents.

“Helping out the defence where I can is something I enjoy doing,”

Pope pointed out. “If that’s not always through saving shots, there are other bits of goalkeeping and coming out for balls in the air is a big part of the game.

“It’s also one of my strengths so I am happy to do it and the more high balls you come for, the fewer shots you will face, because you are cutting the ball out at an earlier stage of the attack.”

Pope’s performances have meant the long-serving Michael Ingham has spent the last two months on the bench and the 6ft 5in youngster is in no mood to surrender his starting place during the final seven weeks of the season.

He said: “I want to play every game right to the end of the season and see where we are come May 3.

Michael’s a great goalkeeper who has been here a lot of years and done really well so, to have somebody like that pushing you, keeps you on your toes and that’s really good for me.”

Pope also feels he is benefitting from working closely with City goalkeeper coach Andy Collett - the man who helped transform David Stockdale from Bootham Crescent reject to future England squad member.

“I am loving working with Andy,” Pope revealed.

“When you go out on loan, part of the experience is training with different coaches and Andy is probably the best goalkeeper coach I have had out of all my loans.”


Match facts

WYCOMBE Wanderers have made six previous Football League trips to York City and last season recorded their first win at Bootham Crescent.

The fixture was staged on the opening day of the League Two campaign and Wanderers won 3-1.

Jason Walker scored for City and the line up on August 18, 2012, was: Ingham, Parslow, C Smith, Doig, Fyfield, Bullock (Blair), McLaughlin (Challinor), J Smith, Coulson (McReady), Walker, Chambers.

The clubs first met at York in 1994/95 and the match finished goalless.

The Chairboys lost on each of their next four visits (1995 to 1998) with City’s biggest win 3-0 in 1998/99.

All these four games were in the Second Division (League One).

It happened on March 15

1969: Ted MacDougall (2) and Phil Boyer netted in a 3-1 Fourth Division home win over Chesterfield in front of 3,686.

1971: In a Fourth Division top of the table tussle City drew 1-1 at Oldham Athletic with Paul Aimson on target.

1983: Northampton Town were defeated 5-2 at Bootham Crescent in the Fourth watched by 2,802. On the scoresheet were Gary Ford (2), Keith Walwyn, Derek Hood and Brian Pollard.

1986: Derek Hood and Marco Gabbiadini were the marksmen in a 2-0 home victory over Chesterfield. The attendance for this Third Division (League One) encounter was 3,580.

1994: A 2-1 win at Stockport County with Paul Barnes netting both goals in the Second Division (League One).

2003: Jon Parkin scored the only goal of the game when Bournemouth were beaten at Bootham Crescent in the Third (League Two) watched by 3,642.

Compiled by David Batters

Comments (6)

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12:30pm Fri 14 Mar 14

SethArmstrong says...

Those suggesing we wont be able to bring in a keeper better than Ingham (nothing but respect for what he's done in his time at City, for the record) have been quiet recently
Those suggesing we wont be able to bring in a keeper better than Ingham (nothing but respect for what he's done in his time at City, for the record) have been quiet recently SethArmstrong
  • Score: 5

1:03pm Fri 14 Mar 14

YorkCityLuke says...

SethArmstrong wrote:
Those suggesing we wont be able to bring in a keeper better than Ingham (nothing but respect for what he's done in his time at City, for the record) have been quiet recently
Pope has exceeded most expectation, mine included. I don't think there's a better shot stopper than Ingham in L2, but in terms of all-round performance (command of the box, speed of distribution, organisation of defense) Pope is great - and still young. If we can grab him permanently in the summer, it would be a big signing.
[quote][p][bold]SethArmstrong[/bold] wrote: Those suggesing we wont be able to bring in a keeper better than Ingham (nothing but respect for what he's done in his time at City, for the record) have been quiet recently[/p][/quote]Pope has exceeded most expectation, mine included. I don't think there's a better shot stopper than Ingham in L2, but in terms of all-round performance (command of the box, speed of distribution, organisation of defense) Pope is great - and still young. If we can grab him permanently in the summer, it would be a big signing. YorkCityLuke
  • Score: 14

2:05pm Fri 14 Mar 14

chuckabuttie says...

How times change. Only Coulson remains from Wycombe Aug 2013
How times change. Only Coulson remains from Wycombe Aug 2013 chuckabuttie
  • Score: 5

2:05pm Fri 14 Mar 14

chuckabuttie says...

How times change. Only Coulson remains from Wycombe Aug 2013
How times change. Only Coulson remains from Wycombe Aug 2013 chuckabuttie
  • Score: -2

9:04pm Fri 14 Mar 14

Tamworth 2 return says...

Just a thought, I wonder how he would feel about facing his current parent club for us as a full contract player next season in League 1

A lot of water to cross etc, but could be a possibility.
Just a thought, I wonder how he would feel about facing his current parent club for us as a full contract player next season in League 1 A lot of water to cross etc, but could be a possibility. Tamworth 2 return
  • Score: 2

9:04am Sun 6 Apr 14

nigthepig says...

Ingham or Pope, two quality keepers at this level. I was happy when Ingham was playing and I am happy with Pope playing. A very nice situation to have. Just hope it continues.
Ingham or Pope, two quality keepers at this level. I was happy when Ingham was playing and I am happy with Pope playing. A very nice situation to have. Just hope it continues. nigthepig
  • Score: 0

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