Tom Pope: Port Vale striker 'will be offered new contract' next summer

Tom Pope
Tom Pope scored 33 goals in the 2012-13 season, helping Port Vale win promotion to League One

Port Vale striker Tom Pope will be offered a new deal at the end of the season, insists chairman Norman Smurthwaite.

The 29-year-old has scored 66 goals in 177 appearances for the club since initially joining on loan in 2011.

"I don't want to lose Tom," Smurthwaite told BBC Radio Stoke. "He's a great kid. He's a local boy and a great ambassador of the area.

"It's down to Tom. Ultimately, he'll be offered a contract in the summer."

Pope insisted last month that he wanted to stay with the club, despite being linked with a move elsewhere.

He signed a two-and-a-half year deal with the club in February 2013, which expires at the end of this season, but Smurthwaite is unhappy with the terms.

"It is disproportionate to what our turnover is and to our fan base. Tom knows that. At the end of the day, we're trying to run a business here.

"I was lumbered with the terms of Pope's contract when (former chairman) Paul Wildes did it. It was great for Tom, but it is not good for the club and it isn't good for me."

Manager Rob Page is also keen to keep Pope, who is currently sidelined until January with a knee ligament injury.

"It's got to be right for both parties," he commented. "Hopefully we can get some common ground there and keep hold of him."

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