The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Paul Ed­di­son

PORT VALE chair­man Nor­man Smurth­waite is pre­par­ing him­self for a bat­tle to keep hold of im­pres­sive young­ster Nathan Smith af­ter the de­fender put pen to pa­per on a new deal.

Fol­low­ing a suc­cess­ful sea­son on loan with Torquay United last term, 20-year-old Smith has car­ried that form over to this cam­paign.

Ahead of this week­end, he had played in ev­ery Port Vale game this sea­son – scor­ing three times – and was nom­i­nated for Au­gust’s League One player of the month award.

That form was re­warded with an im­proved three­year con­tract, but Smurth­waite is ex­pect­ing in­ter­est in the Vale youth prodigy to in­crease as the sea­son goes on, with the chair­man re­veal­ing that higher-placed clubs are al­ready sniff­ing around the young star­let.

“He’s be­ing scouted by Cham­pi­onship clubs," Smurth­waite said. “You could see he's come back a man from be­ing at Torquay for a year.

“I an­tic­i­pate there’ll be some in­ter­est in the win­dow, not just at the end of the sea­son. But it’s a long time be­tween now and Jan­uary.

“He’s mak­ing him­self known. And we’ve been hav­ing di­a­logue with his agent ever since he came in and played his first game in the first team.”

FORM: Nathan Smith

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