Darrell Clarke’s Port Vale turned down the chance to sign Bristol Rovers’ Ryan Loft but ‘couldn’t afford him’

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Before joining the Gas, Ryan Loft was offered the opportunity to join League Two side Port Vale

Bristol RoversLeague Two rivals Port Vale turned down the chance to sign their striker Ryan Loft, it has been revealed.

Loft joined the Rovers from Scunthorpe United for an undisclosed fee at the start of the January transfer window.

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With his contract at Glanford Park running out in the summer, the 24-year-old was wanted by a number of clubs in the division before he put pen to paper on a two-year deal with the Gas.

Colchester as well as Sutton United were rumoured to be interested and a fee of £50,000 was branded when he was linked with a move to Essex.

It has now emerged that Loft, as well as Burton Albion striker Kane Hemmings were offered to the Valiants, who are managed by popular Rovers boss Darrell Clarke.

Appearing on BBC Radio Stoke’s Sport at Six, their director of football David Flitcroft said: “We got offered those players and we couldn’t afford them. It’s as simple as that. We’ve got a pay structure at the club. We think that adds a real cohesion and togetherness in the dressing room.

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“Once you describe them as a big hitter, they’re not only big hitters in terms of their output. They’re big hitters in terms of the finances.

“We made the decision as a board and a football club. What we say to that question is you’ve got to find goals in your team. You’ve got to find a goal spread in your team, we’ve said that from day one.

“A big hitter might come in and take a good wealth of your budget and get injured after one or two days, what’s the point after that? Once that player comes in that wants different payments or wants excessive money, it creates an imbalance in the dressing room.”

Instead of signing the experienced Loft who had scored 15 goals in 62 appearances for Scunthorpe, they opted to sign Kian Harrat on loan from Huddersfield Town.

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For Loft meanwhile, he has played two games for Rovers since making the move from Lincolnshire.

He has yet to find the target, drawing a blank against both Hartlepool United and Swindon Town.

Loft was also absent in Tuesday’s win over his former side with an eye injury that required stitches but he is due to return to the side on Saturday.

Despite not making an immediate goal scoring start to his career, manager Joey Barton has been happy with what he’s seen from him so far.

“Ryan’s an enormous part of what we want to do here and we want everybody at full tilt to keep progressing the group,” said Barton ahead of Saturday’s match with Walsall.

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