Former Carlisle United frontman Harry McKirdy could face the Blues next month - after being thrown a lifeline at Port Vale.

The attacker has been brought back into the Valiants squad by boss Darrell Clarke.

It comes weeks after the 23-year-old was left out of the 22-man Vale squad to comply with league rules on squad numbers.

McKirdy subsequently made an appearance for Leicester's Under-23s but is now back in the fold at Vale after the club appealed to the EFL.

The Burslem outfit asked if McKirdy could rejoin their squad after an injury to Zak Mills, and the league have agreed.

Vale - who visit Brunton Park on April 17 - confirmed the news on Twitter, announcing: "Harry McKirdy has been brought back onto the Vale squad list, following an injury which will rule Zak Mills out for the remainder of the season.

"Good luck to Harry on his return and best wishes to Zak in his recovery."

McKirdy, last season's top scorer for the Blues before his summer release, was exiled by former Vale boss John Askey, who made the ex-Aston Villa man available for transfer.

The recently-appointed Clarke, though, appears ready to give the forward another chance, McKirdy scoring for the reserves against Hereford last week.

He is one of a number of ex-United players in the Port Vale ranks, along with Luke Joyce, Shaun Brisley, David Amoo and Mark Cullen.

McKirdy has made nine appearances and scored twice this season.

He got 11 goals in 38 Blues appearances in 2019/20.

Vale are 18th in League Two, nine points above the relegation zone, and seven points behind the 11th-placed Cumbrians.