Belfast Telegraph

Mark Sykes: Glenavon agree deal with League Two side Port Vale

Glenavon star Mark Sykes.
Glenavon star Mark Sykes.
Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

Glenavon have agreed a deal with League Two side Port Vale for the transfer of Mark Sykes.

As we reported on Saturday evening, the two clubs had been in discussions after an initial bid was rejected and have now agreed a deal including financial add-ons and a percentage of any future transfer fee.

Hibernian, Hearts, Oxford United and Blackburn have all been interested in the central-midfielder, who has impressed for both his club and Northern Ireland Under 21s.

However, other interested suitors will now have to act fast, with the player free to discuss terms with Port Vale, who currently sit 15th in League Two.

“I can confirm we have reached an agreement that suits all parties and it will now be down to Mark to discuss personal terms," manager Gary Hamilton told the Sun.

“There has been a lot of interest in Mark in recent transfer windows but Port Vale came back with a second offer after we initially rejected their first one.

“I’ve said all along I wanted Mark to achieve his dream of making it in full-time football and as a club we were never going to stand in his way if the right offer was made.

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“We are happy with the deal now and it’s now down to Mark to discuss the move with Port Vale.

“I know quite a few clubs have watched him recently and I wouldn’t be surprised if more offers came in but they’ll have to move quickly.”

Sykes has scored three Premiership goals this term and has earned rave reviews for his skillful displays in the centre of Glenavon's midfield. He has even taken that form to the international stage and scored the only goal for Northern Ireland U21s in their final qualifying game against Slovakia.

Wherever he moves to, Sykes is keen to go straight in to full-time football at senior level.

"It would be a dream for me to get a move across the water and start playing full time," he said. "I would like to go and get straight into the first team, I don’t really want to join the youth team and be there for a year or so before getting the opportunity to break into the first team."

Speaking on Saturday, Hamilton had indicated that Glenavon could recall Robbie Norton from his loan spell at Warrenpoint, should Sykes move on in January.

"We've got three or four weeks to go and we'll assess it," he said. "If Sykes goes, we'll need a midfielder in so that might change things but if Sykes stays, then Robbie needs game time. That's the reality of it."

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