TOM Pope has re-signed for League Two Port Vale after being released from his contract at Bury.

The 31-year-old striker made 83 appearances during two seasons at Gigg Lane after moving from Vale Park to join the Shakers.

But he never quite reached the heights he did for the Valiants – his boyhood club – scoring just 14 goals, seven in each campaign.

A statement released by Bury FC read: "As everyone in football knows, Tom will always be known as Port Vale through and through and a die-hard Port Vale supporter.

"The emotional link that Tom has with Vale Park is very like the link that fellow striker Ryan Lowe shares with Bury Football Club and, as such, when the opportunity for Tom to return arose, the club could simply not stand in his way."

Pope had a year remaining on his contract but it was made clear by current manager Lee Clark his first-team chances would be limited next season.

Clark has already stated he would like to pair up new signing Jermaine Beckford and James Vaughan in attack in his first full campaign in charge.

Bury chairman Stewart Day added: "I have to thank Tom for everything he has done for this football club.

"I have nothing but total respect for Tom, both as a player and as a person.

"Tom is that character that we badly needed within the club, both on and off the field, and he has helped drive this club forward during the two years he has been with us.

"Tom Pope will always be welcome back at Gigg Lane and at the Carrington training ground.

"He’s an infectious character that will be very much missed by everyone connected to the club.

"I personally wish him every success as he continues his career back at his beloved Port Vale.”

Pope was placed on the transfer list last summer by previous manager David Flitcroft but remained at the club after strike partner Leon Clarke was sold to Sheffield United.

He joins a Port Vale side that were relegated from League One under Michael Brown on the final day of the season after failing to get the win they needed to move above Gillingham and Bury.