Bury reject Clarke bid and transfer-list Pope

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BURY
manager David Flitcroft has revealed the club has turned down an bid for Leon Clarke and transfer-listed fellow striker Tom Pope.

Sheffield United are one of League One’s big spenders and bought left-back Chris Hussey from the Shakers earlier this summer. But the Blades offered a low, five-figure sum for Clarke, who was Bury’s top scorer with 18 goals last season.

Flitcroft told the Bury Times the bid was “comical”, especially when Charlton paid almost £1m plus add-ons for ex-Bury loanee Nicky Ajose while Millwall have valued Lee Gregory at £2m.

The Bury boss insists he wants to keep hold of Clarke, 31, who he rates as the best striker in League One after scoring 15 goals from 32 league starts last term, but he is willing to let Pope leave.

Both Clarke and Pope arrived at Gigg Lane on free transfers last summer, signing two-year contracts with the Shakers. But 15 of Pope’s 36 league appearances came off the bench and he scored just six league goals.

Bury will now consider selling the 30-year-old or letting him leave on loan, which would leave them with just two senior strikers – Clarke and new signing Nicky Clark – as Ryan Lowe, Danny Rose and Danny Nardiello have already left this summer.

The Shakers began their pre-season campaign with a triangular tournament at Morecambe last Saturday, where they lost 1-0 to Blackburn and 4-0 to the hosts. Former Bolton midfielder Neil Danns played in the first game and remains on trial with the Shakers although Richard Chaplow, who played in the second game, is now believed to be in talks with an American club.

Bury’s next pre-season game is away to non-league Southport on Saturday, before they kick off their new League One campaign at home to relegated Charlton on August 6.