Sutton United striker Sam Gargan has targeted a return to the professional ranks this summer although he admits a trial with League Two Port Vale is far from certain.

The 21-year-old dropped into non-League football last summer having been released by Brighton & Hove Albion and had hoped a successful season at Gander Green Lane might attract some interest from the Football League.

The former Seagulls trainee bagged 17 goals for United last season as they reached the FA Cup first round and finished second in the Ryman League Premier Division.

Gargan is expected to head to Vale Park this summer in the hopes of impressing new Valiants boss Micky Adams - his former manager at the Withdean Stadium.

He went AWOL at the end of the season leaving boss Paul Doswell to believe he had seen the last of him, before talks last week that have seen the door to a Gander Green Lane return left open.

But Gargan, who missed the end of season run-in because of a back problem, is hoping he can make the best of a second chance at life as a pro should it come his way.

“I had an alright season. There were patches of good stuff from me, but the team had a good season in general and we deserved to finish second,” he said.

“My goal really was to play well and try to get a move back into the pro game. I had a few injury problems and I’d like to think I’d have scored more goals.

“The thing with Port Vale hasn’t been confirmed - it seems to be a bit of talk at the moment - but it will be nice to get a second chance.

"I want to play at a higher level and I like the prospect of getting back into full-time football.”

Doswell has brought in more fire power up front this summer in the form of Richard Jolly and Craig Dundas, but insists there is room to accommodate Gargan should things not work out for him.

And the Brighton-based youngster isn’t averse to the idea of playing for United next season.

“There is still a chance I’ll play for Sutton again. They are a good club. They look after their players and are very professional,” he added.

“It is a bit of a trek to come up from Brighton, but it isn’t too bad.

“Paul knows a lot of people in the game and there are always scouts watching their games because of the success they have had in recent times.

“Stefan Payne did really well to get a move to Fulham and shows there is always a chance of getting picked up from somewhere like Sutton.”