Tom Pope: Port Vale striker wants to stay with hometown club

Tom Pope
Pope had not netted a league goal in almost two months before his brace against Yeovil

Port Vale striker Tom Pope has told BBC Radio Stoke that he has no intention of leaving his hometown club, despite being linked with a move elsewhere.

Vale's nine-goal top scorer, 29, is a target for League One side Barnsley and also an unnamed Championship club, understood to be Millwall.

"I want to stay here and score goals for as long as possible," said Pope.

"But the club have got to show the commitment to want me to stay," added the former Crewe and Rotherham forward.

"Ever since I first signed for this club, I said I would only leave under two conditions - if I was released or if it was right for me and the club."

Tom Pope on Port Vale's managerial situation
"If somebody comes in who I don't get on with or don't agree with, it could be an easy decision to walk away at the end of the year"

Vale chairman Norman Smurthwaite has said Pope will not be offered a new contract until his current one expires at the end of the season, and hinted he may have to take a wage cut on the two-and-a-half year deal he signed in February 2013.

"I'd like to keep him," Smurthwaite told BBC Radio Stoke before Saturday's 4-1 win over Yeovil, in which Pope scored twice.

"Tom will have an offer made to him, like all of the other players we want to keep in the summer. It's up to Tom if he decides to take it or not. That's something we won't know until then, but I have no desire to get rid of Tom at the moment."

Smurthwaite also claims that he was not responsible for Pope's current contract, which was dealt with by then Vale chairman Paul Wildes.

"Tom's on an exceptionally good contract here," added Smurthwaite. "He earned that when he got us promoted from League Two.

"I wouldn't have done that contract, in fairness. Paul Wildes did that contract. It's too generous and disproportionate to our club. But, having said that, that's Tom's contract and I'll honour it until the summer.

"I know where I am until the end of June financially and Tom's within that. From what he's told me, and I genuinely believe what he's told me, he'll be here until the end of the season."

Tom Pope's Port Vale record
Prior to the 2012-13 season, the Stoke-born boyhood Vale fan scored 29 goals in 163 league games for Crewe, Rotherham and Vale.
Pope hit 31 league goals in Vale's 2012-13 promotion-winning campaign to help Micky Adams' men back to League One for the first time since 2008.
The 2011 summer signing from Rotherham netted 16 goals in all competitions last season as Vale finished ninth in League One.
He has scored nine times this season, having gone nine games without a goal until his Johnstone's Paint Trophy brace at Preston was followed by another against Yeovil on Saturday.

Pope, who has scored 66 goals in 175 games for Vale, added: "It was a good contract offer. But, if I'd waited until the end of the year, I might have had double what was on offer.

"The club had committed themselves to me and that was all that mattered. I'm not sure if my agent was too happy. All I wanted was a decent contract at the club I support."

Vale's current managerial situation will be a factor in what he decides to do next.

Rob Page has taken over as the club's interim boss until the end of October following the departure of Micky Adams last month.

"'Pagey' is a good man," said Pope. "But a lot depends on who comes in. If somebody comes in who I don't get on with or don't agree with, it could be an easy decision to walk away at the end of the year."