Pope set for Millers exit

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TOM Pope is on the brink of joining boyhood club Port Vale on loan.

The 25-year-old striker, who is from Stoke-on-Trent, has been told he can leave Rotherham United by manager Ronnie Moore.

Moore is prepared to let Pope, the club’s joint record-signing at £150,000, leave having signed his son, Ian Thomas-Moore, from Tranmere Rovers for an undisclosed fee on Wednesday.

Vale boss Jim Gannon has confirmed his interest in Pope, who has been given abuse from Millers fans online in recent months.

“Because we’ve been looking for a strong attacker, Tom has been in my thinking,” said Gannon, who succeeded Micky Adams at the helm at Vale Park. “There could be progress regarding Tom especially as Ronnie (Moore) has been able to strengthen his own squad, so that`s made Tom available.

“Like I said, when everything went quiet I started to look at other clubs and other players. We will have feedback on one or two targets and then we should be able to bring in a player.”

Gannon is keen to bolster his striking options after top scorer Marc Richards, formerly of Barnsley, was ruled out for a further month with a torn thigh muscle.

He is a long-known admirer of Pope and has kept close tabs on him since the transfer window reopened at the start of the month. A deal is expected to be completed before Monday’s deadline.

Gannon added: “I’ve looked at other targets and I’m starting to think of not just a temporary move but also for the long-term.”