Jordan stands in for Pope at Easter
JORDAN Hugill had big boots to fill when he was sent on to replace the injured Tom Pope – but after grabbing the winner the young Port Vale striker is desperate for further chances to show what he can do.
The 21-year-old replaced Pope when the club’s top-scorer was taken off on a stretcher with an ankle injury on the half hour and slotted home the winner 18 minutes later.
Hugill has trained with the first team for the past two seasons but had not scored since February having been recalled earlier in the season from a fine loan spell at Gateshead.
The striker has tried to force his way into the side by staying behind for extra training sessions and after proving he can lead the line has vowed to continue his fastidious approach.
“I was looking forward to getting back into the team, the gaffer had given me a few hints in training,” said Hugill. “He told me what he wanted and when I went on for Tom Pope I got onto a few crosses and nearly scored with one, I felt I put shift in to help the team and we managed to get a result
“Hopefully I can carry on performing if I get the chance. I will go back into training and try my best. It’s up to the gaffer whether I get into the team or not but I do all that I can including extra training.
“I’ve trained with the first team for two seasons now but only come on this season but it’s difficult when you only get a few minutes.”
The visitors came agonisingly close to taking the lead on 11 minutes when Izale McLeod fired onto the crossbar from just inside the box.
Ryan Lloyd brought Vale to life on 16 minutes when he shot just wide and Carl Dickinson saw his 30-yard effort easily saved by David Martin.
The home side grew in confidence but Pope’s injury and the introduction of Hugill stunted their progress.
And Dons almost capitalised as Matthew Kennedy’s effort rattled Port Vale’s crossbar.
But the sides went in level at the break and, just two minutes into the second half, Vale’s enforced change proved decisive.
“I thought we started quite bright, hit the bar twice, but we keep missing chances. I’m disappointed with the effort from some of the players,” said MK Dons boss Karl Robinson.
“I thought second half we were very lethargic they made it look like an end of season game and some of them are on trial.
“I keep harping on but we had some big players out, it’s difficult not having any strikers at the club that can really change anything.”
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STAR MAN CARL DICKIN