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League Two: Port Vale striker Tom Pope praises “aggressive” Cheltenham Town

Valiant's fan favourite is an admirer of "solid" League Two rivals

Port Vale striker Tom Pope has praised in-form Cheltenham Town as a “strong and aggressive” side.

The Robins beat rivals Swindon Town 3-0 in Sky Bet League Two on Saturday, stretching their unbeaten run to three matches.

Former Rotherham United striker Pope has scored three times in two games for Vale against Gary Johnson’s side this season.

The 32-year-old most recently netted in a 5-1 defeat at Whaddon Road in February, but is full of admiration for Cheltenham’s form in recent weeks.

Johnson’s team drew with both table toppers Luton Town and promotion contenders Notts County before triumphing at Swindon.

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“They were on a bad run a couple of months ago but they have picked up and are strong and aggressive,” said Pope.

 

“Cheltenham is always a tough place to go, it’s an old school ground that’s tight to the pitch and the fans get right behind the team.”

Despite scoring a brace in a 3-1 victory over Johnson’s team earlier on in the season, Pope admitted that Cheltenham had improved considerably judging by their most recent meeting in Gloucestershire.

“They got the game plan spot on at their place,” he added.

“Gary (Johnson) had changed it by putting three centre halves in who were or 6’4” or 6’5” and on top of that you’ve got Harry Pell in midfield who is 6’5” and it just nullified me.

“I was fighting for the ball with three tall players aerially and got dominated really.

“First half we we’re massively on top and brought it back to 1-1 but after that there was 20 minutes where we couldn’t get it out of our own half.

“Defensively, you’ve never seen defending like it as it was Sunday morning stuff from us.

“They nullified me and had three strong defenders who stopped me winning my flicks and looked ridiculous on the break.

“Eisa scored a hat-trick and caused a riot, they just looked a solid League Two side that battle and work hard. They’re a steady side.”

 

Cheltenham currently sit in 15th place, seven points and three places above Port Vale going into this weekend’s home match with Chesterfield.

 

 

 

 

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