CHRIS Birchall is hoping to sign a new contract with Port Vale after talks with manager Rob Page.
The 30-year-old midfielder has revealed the manager spoke to him today to assure him he is part of his plans at Vale Park.
Birchall is out of contract in the summer and hasn’t been a regular this season having only started nine games.
However, he is likely to be recalled on Saturday against his old club Coventry City because Page is without suspended midfielders Chris Lines and Michael O’Connor.
A loan move when the transfer window opens in January now looks unlikely as Page looks to get the best out of a player who came through the youth set up at Vale Park
Birchall said he is encouraged about his future in Burslem after speaking to the manager.
He said: “He pulled me in and said he wanted me to stay and I was part of his plans, so we will go from there.
“That is as much as I know at the moment. He knows I want to stay and he has told me he wants me to stay so that is as far as it has gone.
“I think he knows how much I want to be here and hopefully what I have done for the club over the years. There is nowhere else I want to be. My family is here and I just want to sign a lengthy contract to stay.”
Birchall, from Yarnfield will play his 150th game for the club if he is selected on Saturday. He has represented the Valiants over two spells in a career which also included a £325,000 move from Vale Park to Coventry City in 2006 and a spell with LA Galaxy from 2009-11.
If Birchall is recalled, he could play out wide with Louis Dodds moving to central midfield to partner Michael Brown.
Birchall, who can also play in central midfield, said: “The squad is big enough and capable enough for players to come and fill in. Whether that is me, Louis Dodds, or other players. Carl Dickinson can play there too, as he did last season.
“Hopefully I will play some part in the game. If not starting then coming off the bench.”