Pope is ready to take on top flight
Goalkeeper Nick Pope acknowledges that he's got big boots to fill but Tom Heaton's understudy is ready to take on the challenge of the Premier League head on.
The 25-year-old, signed from Charlton Athletic last summer, made his top flight debut at the weekend, replacing Heaton in the 36th minute of the victory over Crystal Palace at Turf Moor after the England international landed awkwardly when collecting Chung-Yong Lee’s centre.
Burnley boss Sean Dyche later feared that the club’s number one could face months on the sidelines with a suspected dislocated shoulder.
“As a player you want to play, when I came to Burnley I wanted to play games, that’s your ambition as a player, that’s what you dream about, you don’t dream about sitting on the bench,” said Pope.
“As a goalkeeper you try and be ready as much as you can. “It’s a rare occasion but you get yourself warm and prepare for the possibility of coming on.
“It’s probably the hardest thing to be a goalkeeper coming off the bench, so to come on, keep a clean sheet and get a win, we’re over the moon with that.
“As a goalkeeper a clean sheet is what you look for, so I’m really happy.”
That blank against the Eagles still means that Pope has yet to be beaten inside 90 minutes of a competitive fixture.
Matthew Pearson’s strike in the final minute of extra-time of last season’s League Cup tie at the Crown Ground remains the only effort to have broken his guard.
And Pope has credited the protection from his team-mates for preserving that record.
“They were all awesome, the lads in front of them worked really hard as a unit as well,” he said.
“We work hard on our shape as a team for reasons like today, we were solid, there were last ditch tackles and blocks.
“You need that resilience in the Premier League. You’re going to come under pressure, there’s some top teams in this league and some top players.
”You’ve got to be ready to come under pressure and stick it out at times and we were excellent at that today.
“They were excellent in front of me, they talked to me and helped each out, they were on it all day with blocks and tackles.
“That record is still going, fingers crossed it still is this time next week. It’s not something you set out to do, it just falls upon you.
“It’s game by game for me now, don’t look too far ahead, because the game can bite you quickly.”