Port Vale boss on Nathan Smith latest ahead of contract deadline



John Askey says he can only wait for Nathan Smith’s contract decision but believes Port Vale are an attractive club for players, even competing against League One teams.

Smith is due to be a free agent on June 30 but was offered a new deal as part of the club’s retained list. That was published three weeks ago and, under EFL rules, players offered deals are due to accept or decline next week.

The manager believes the majority of the seven players offered contracts will re-sign. However, there has been the greatest speculation about Smith who has been a regular in the side for the last four years and could leave on a free transfer having turned 24 in April.

So, Vale are keeping their fingers crossed but Askey says Vale are an ambitious League Two club so still an attractive proposition even if a League One side makes an offer.

He said: “I have been speaking to Nathan for a while now and I think he is just waiting to see if someone from a higher division comes in. I can’t see him signing for somebody in the same division.

“If it is someone in a higher division then it depends what team. If it is a team that is lesser than ourselves – because we have ambitions to try to get up – then you still have to think about whether he will be fighting at the bottom end of League One or whether he will be moving to a team that are doing well.”

Whatever Smith decides, the manager says he has enjoyed working with the centre half who has come through the club’s youth system.

He said: “With the likes of Nathan, you know every week what you are going to get. He gives everything and is very low maintenance.

“Supporters can see that. If he did go on and play at a higher level then I think people would wish him all the best.”

Of the other players offered new deals as part of the retained list, Mark Cullen, Shaun Brisley and Cristian Montano have all verbally agreed to sign. The club is also talking to Rhys Browne, David Amoo and Tom Conlon.

Meanwhile, Askey has dismissed speculation linking him with Caernarfon midfielder Leo Smith and Prestatyn Town striker Jordan Davies. 





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