Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley has labelled Sam Gray a “required player” after the forward was linked to a move to Carlton on Wednesday afternoon.
AFL Media’s Cal Twomey reported that the out of contract 27-year-old will be targeted by the Blues, who have been open about their desire to find small forwards.
Hinkley praised Gray for creating a career for himself and wants him to remain at the Power.
“He’s played every game I think nearly bar the first one or two so that’s a pretty easy answer for us, we love what Sam brings to the team,” he told SEN SA Breakfast.
“He’s worked really hard to get a career, he’s worked hard to stay in the team and he’s figured out a way to play AFL football despite being an inside mid with the Magpies, he’s come and played on our half forward line and played a significant role for us.
“So yeah, he’s part of our future.
“When you get to this time of the year, all those discussions ramp up at this time of the year.
“There’ll be commentary around this every week from now on about every club and every list, we’ll just let that stuff play out.”
Carlton has been linked to several small forwards, including Sydney’s Tom Papley and Richmond’s Dan Butler.