Rob Page: Port Vale close to making decision on manager's job

Port Vale interim manager Rob Page
Port Vale have won three and drawn two of their seven matches under interim manager Rob Page

Port Vale interim boss Rob Page is reportedly close to being confirmed as manager of the Potteries outfit.

Vale owner Norman Smurthwaite told BBC Radio Stoke: "His future will be decided by the end of this week."

The club have risen to 16th in League One, having lost just twice in seven games since Page took over after Micky Adams' resignation on 18 September.

Meanwhile, Vale's top scorer Tom Pope could be sidelined until the end of the year with a knee injury.

Turning down Page
Rob Page was in contention for the vacant manager's position at Sheffield United in 2013 - a job that eventually went to David Weir.

The 29-year-old striker suffered ligament damage in the 2-2 home draw with Scunthorpe on 21 October - an injury that may have cost Pope, who had also been linked with League One side Barnsley, a move to Championship side Millwall.

"He had the opportunity to go to Millwall," revealed Smurthwaite. "But he turned it down for personal reasons.

"He would most probably have gone in January. But we can assume that option has now gone because of the injury, because clearly he would be out for a few weeks and that would have an impact on his fitness.

"Tom has been an excellent servant of the club but I can't afford him. I can't afford to run a club on gates of 3-4,000 with him on the package that he's on."

Pope's Port Vale record
Tom Pope has netted 66 goals in 177 games since joining Port Vale, initially on loan, in 2011.
Half of that tally came in one season, Pope having scored 33 goals to help Vale win promotion to League One in 2013.

Smurthwaite continued: "He'll be offered a contract for next season, but it won't be on the terms he's on at the moment. It's not a reflection of his ability, it's a reflection of the club's finances.

"That's a difficult call. He's a married man with a family and a mortgage.

"I would personally be going to out to get the best deal I could. And, if there was anything much better than my boyhood dream club, then I would be going for the better option."

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