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Kings of Anglia Issue 9 Magazine Offer

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.”

Ipswich Town have taken up their option to extend Freddie Sears’ contract until the summer of 2020.

Jon Nolan is back in the team under Paul Lambert. STUART WATSON spoke to the midfielder about Paul Hurst’s sacking, stepping up to the Championship and the visit of Wigan.

Paul Lambert will continue to ‘protect’ talented midfielder Teddy Bishop as the youngster strives for fitness following a long injury lay-off.

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert says he won’t sanction any player departures until he has signed the players he wants in January.

Former Ipswich Town striker Marcus Stewart has asked to leave Bristol Rovers following the departure of Darrell Clarke this morning.

Signing strikers will be a top priority for Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert in January. ANDY WARREN looks at names who could fit the bill for the Blues.

In our daily feature, we take a look at what happened on this day in Ipswich Town’s history. Today features a goal from Tony Mowbray in a European triumph, plus a victory over Leeds United.

Paul Lambert spoke to the media this afternoon ahead of Saturday’s visit of Wigan Athletic.

Midfielder Cole Skuse believes he is ahead of schedule after undergoing a minor operation on the knee injury which is expected to keep him out for eight weeks.

Freddie Sears knows Ipswich Town must add goals to their team, with the January transfer window just around the corner.

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