Ex Bury Town keeper Nick Pope has his sights set on becoming Charlton Athletic’s first choice keeper next season
- Credit: Archant
Former Bury Town keeper Nick Pope has set his sights on becoming Charlton’s first choice custodian in the Championship next season after penning a four-year contract extension.
The 22-year-old impressed on loan at League Two side York City in the second half of last season, keeping 15 clean sheets in 22 matches as Nigel Worthington’s side surged up the table before losing 1-0 on aggregate to Fleetwood in the play-off semi-finals.
Charlton have since sold first-choice keeper Ben Hamer to newly-promoted Premier League club Leicester, while back-up man loanee Yohann Thuram-Ulien has returned to his parent club Standard Liege.
Charlton finished 18th in the Championship last season, Jose Riga steering them to safety after replacing Chris Powell as manager for the final 16 games of the campaign. Since then, owner Roland Duchâtelet has brought in another fellow Belgian, Bob Peeters, as manager.
“I don’t know what the new manager knows about me or whether he plans on bringing any new keepers in,” said Pope. “As it stands it’s just me and a young lad from the academy on the books.
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“I’ve had a little conversation with him, but nothing formal. Most of the players are away on their holidays, so I was one of the first to meet him at the training ground this week when I signed my contract.
“I’ve spoken to Ben (Hamer) and he’s said he put in a good word about me when he left. I’m delighted for him – it’s a great move to go to the Premier League and one he fully deserves after his performances. He’s been a great role model for me and is someone I’ve definitely learned a lot off.
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“No two ways about it though, him leaving Charlton is great for me.”
Looking back on his loan spell at York, he said: “When I went there in January I couldn’t have dreamed it would go that well. Going out on loan was something I always wanted to do. Playing in front of crowds, in games where points are at stake, and living a long way from home has really helped me grow as a player and a person. It was a great experience.
“Now I know I’ve got to prove myself all over again. You can’t afford to stand still and rest on your laurels, you’ve always got to look to kick on again. We’re heading to Belgium and Spain in pre-season and I’m determined to take whatever opportunities come my way with both hands.”