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New Premier League star Nick Pope didn’t forget Bury Town roots after making Burnley debut

PUBLISHED: 14:10 13 September 2017 | UPDATED: 15:17 13 September 2017

Nick Pope, as a young goalkeeper at Bury Town, in 2009.

Nick Pope, as a young goalkeeper at Bury Town, in 2009.

New Premier League star Nick Pope ensured he didn’t forget his roots after making his top-flight debut for Burnley at the weekend.

The 25-year-old replaced the injured Tom Heaton during the Clarets’ 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Sunday and made a crucial stop from Christian Benteke, to keep the home side’s lead intact.

Pope was a youngster at Ipswich Town but was released as a 16-year-old and went on to play part-time at Bury Town, whilst studying at West Suffolk College, under the leadership of current Needham Market boss, Richard Wilkins.

Wilkins gave Pope his bow at Bury, well aware that scouts from Charlton Athletic were monitoring the Soham-born youngster, who eventually moved to The Valley in 2011.

Pope went on to make 38 appearances for the Addicks during a five-year spell there, before joining Burnley last summer.

A delighted Wilkins said: “Nick sent me a text message on Monday reminding me that when he left (Bury Town), to join Charlton, I said he would be playing Premier League football in five years. It took six but I am delighted for him!

Wilkins, who managed Bury for 14 years, added: “He (Pope) was always unorthodox, not your classic keeper.

“He was a bit like Pat Jennings, Neville Southall, Peter Schmeichel where he had the ability to save shots with all different parts of his body.

“He showed that on Sunday when he saved with his foot from Christian Benteke.

“His kicking wasn’t great when he first started, he could barely clear the 18-yard box, but he has improved that now through listening and hard work and I am really glad he has got his opportunity.”

Pope’s brother Josh, is also a talented goalkeeper, currently playing for Soham Town Rangers, and Wilkins says the goalkeeper has a strong network of people behind him.

“He is a very confident lad and he always has a smile on his face,” explained Wilkins.

“He is the sort of person you like to have a conversation with, his parents really support him, and his brother is a very good goalkeeper too,

“The Charlton goalkeeping coach (Ben Roberts) deserves a lot of praise too.”

FA Youth Cup Fourth Round

Ipswich Town U18s 2

Dagenham & Redbridge U18s 1

Ipswich Town’s U18 Academy boss Alan Lee praised his side after they progressed in the FA Youth Cup after beating Dagenham & Redbridge 2-1 at Portman Road last night.

FA Youth Cup

Ipswich Town 2 Dagenham & Redbridge 1

Ipswich Town U18 Academy boss Alan Lee is hoping his young charges can keep up the proud Blues tradition of success in youth football, with victory against Dagenham & Redbridge in the FA Youth Cup Fourth Round tonight, at Portman Road, 7pm ko.

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy believes young defender Chris Smith returned from his loan spell at Chelmsford ‘more of a bloke’ and is hopeful he has a first team future.

Ipswich Town U23 3

QPR 0

Ben Morris hit a brace and Aaron Drinan opened his account in a blue shirt as an experienced Ipswich Town under 23 side eased past QPR 3-0 at Playford Road today, writes Kieren Standley.

FA Women’s Premier League

South East Division One

Ipswich Town 9

Haringey Borough 0

Ipswich Town Ladies bounced back from last Sunday’s disappointing FA Cup exit to Charlton with an emphatic 9-0 trouncing of bottom of the league Haringey Borough at the Goldstar Ground in Felixstowe, writes Kieren Standley.

Leeds United boss Thomas Christiansen is set to appeal the red card given to Eunan O’Kane following his altercation with Jonas Knudsen.

Episode Six: Stuart Watson and Andy Warren are back for another episode of the Kings of Anglia podcast to discuss the win over Leeds, Portman Road atmosphere and the latest transfer news.

Bersant Celina revealed just how much the adulation of the Ipswich Town fans means to him after his latest match-winning effort.

It’s that kind of season. Just when everything seems to be miserable, and the fans’ anger is mounting, along comes a victory to lighten the mood. At least temporarily, writes Northstander Terry Hunt.

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