Tom Pope hoping for fresh start at Port Vale
Striker Tom Pope has said he is looking forward to a fresh start after leaving Rotherham to join Port Vale.
The 25-year-old was allowed to leave the Millers on a free transfer.
"I had to train on my own for the first two weeks of pre-season," Pope told BBC Radio Stoke. "I wasn't out on the grass with the rest of the lads.
"It's tough when you're on your own to motivate yourself, and then the last couple of weeks I've spent with the kids not doing a lot."
Pope continued: "They're 16 and 17 and learning their trade. They're not going to be running around pitches, they're going to be doing ball work.
"There wasn't a lot that was really pushing me to get the fitness that I needed. It's been difficult but I'm not going to use that as an excuse.
"Hopefully the gaffer [Micky Adams] is going to get me running and I will be able to catch up with the lads pretty soon."
Pope, a lifelong Port Vale supporter, scored three times in 13 appearances during a loan spell at Vale Park last season.
"I think everyone knew I wanted to come back and signing permanently for 12 months is a great feeling," added the former Crewe striker.
"Hopefully I can play a few games, get a few goals and help to get the club promoted."