Pope to be number one
Pope to be number one
What will the new season have in store for Nick Pope at Charlton Athletic?Nick Pope2
Bob Peeters’ interview this week was generally well received by the fans. They were no doubt pleased to hear the new boss say that several deals were progressing well. Specifically, he mentioned strikers, wingers and midfielders.

No mention of keepers or defenders though. Talks are on going with Michael Morrison and the player has always given the impression he wishes to continue his career at The Valley. But even if Morrison does sign, Charlton will still need to recruit players for their back line.

Leon Cort, Dorian Dervite, Cedric Evina and Kevin Feely have all left the club since the end of the season. Morgan Fox has signed a new three-year deal and is a natural replacement for Evina, but the Addicks are very short of central defenders.

Ben Hamer has signed a lucrative contract at Leicester, so Peeters will need to bring a keeper in as well. The question is, will he be looking for a first choice or back-up keeper, with Nick Pope being earmarked for the number one jersey?

Pope is hopeful of staking his claim in pre-season, and had this to say to the East Anglian Daily Times after penning a four-year deal at The Valley last week:

“I’ve had a little conversation with him (Peeters, 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.

“No two ways about it though, him leaving Charlton is great for me.”

Pope went on to talk about the experience he gained whist on loan at York in the second half of the season, “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,” concluded Pope.

Clearly ambitious, the new regime’s mantra of making full use of young talent within the club, is to Pope’s advantage.

The Cambridge born 22-year-old is still young for a keeper, but 2014/15 could be a crucial campaign for him. It may well turn out to be the season Pope establishes himself as Charlton’s number one.