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Chris Birchall
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CONGRATULATIONS Chris Birchall. The winger was making his 300th career appearance in Tuesday night's win over Blackpool, 14 years after making his Port Vale debut as a 17 year old in a League Cup game at Charlton.

Birchall showed a suitable sense of occasion on his landmark game as he got on the end of Uche Ikpeazu's ball across the area to put the Valiants 2-0 up four minutes from time and clinch a hard earned win against the Seasiders.

That completed a bright substitute appearance from the 31 year old who, with fellow substitutes Ikpeazu and Sam Kelly, helped the Valiants over the line in their third game, and third win in five days.

Manger Rob Page faced some criticism when some players including BIrchall and Adam Yates were offered new one-year contracts in the summer. However, the manager argued they were reliable players he know were a good influence in the dressing room and could do a solid job in the team when called upon.

What's more, he pointed out the local players were on less wages than being asked by potential signings from non-league clubs who would have been more of a gamble.

The manager was certainly pleased with Birchall's efforts after the winger replaced a tiring Byron Moore on 63 minutes and helped Vale to victory against a stubborn Blackpool side.

He said: "It's not the first time Birchy has done that, come off the bench and got a goal for us. I touched on this after the Barnsley game about Yatesy. They are two fantastic characters that I know, when called upon, I can trust to go on and give a good account of themselves for the badge."

Page felt Birchall proved that point against Blackpool.

He said: "He has come on, worked his socks off and thoroughly deserved his goal and that has helped us get a valuable three points."

After coming the youth side at Vale, Birchall, from Yarnfield, got his debut under Brian Horton and became a Vale regular while helping Trinidad and Tobago qualify for the 2006 World Cup. Birchall, who qualified for Trinidad because his mum was born there, played in the finals, appearing against England, Sweden and Paraguay.

Micky Adams signed him from Vale for Coventry for £325,000 in August 2006 and Birchall also had a spell at Brighton before playing in the United States with LA Galaxy and Columbus Crew before rejoining the Valiants in January 2013.

Tuesday night's goal was his 16th for the club. Hopefully there are a few more to come.