Birchall working hard to stay in team
Midfielder Chris Birchall is smiling after forcing his way back into the Vale starting line-up in recent games.
Birchall started on the right of midfield at the expense of Jennision Myrie-Williams and helped Vale record back-to-back win for the first time this season.
He said: “I am just trying to come in and do well everyday with a smile on my face.
“It’s not always best when you’re coming in and you’re not involved.
“I’ve always been on the bench, the gaffer has always spoke to me and ‘Pagey and said ‘keep going’.”
“It’s hard when we’ve got one of the best wingers in the league who on his day is phenomenal,” he said.
A different midfield option to Myrie-Williams, the former LA Galaxy player believes despite a run in a winning side he is still not guaranteed his place in the side.
“Different games provide different tests, against Coventry it wasn’t going well in the first-half and he’s brought me.
“I did alright against Bury and then we won at Carlisle and then I found myself out the team, sometimes if you win you’re not guaranteed your place.
“All I can do is try and work hard when I am on the pitch,” he added.
An inspiring second-half performance and a winning goal against Coventry seems to have been the catalyst for Birchall and the Vale team as a whole.
He said: “Confidence was high after the second-half performance against Coventry.
“Knowing that it was a game that we could really go out and push Tranmere because they’d been on a bad run of form.
“It felt like we got a good start and put them under pressure, I think it all went to plan really.”
Chris Lines scored a stunning 25-yard free-kick to win the match for Vale but despite having a man advantage for the majority of the game Vale failed to take their chances.
“We had many chances that we should have put away, we got lucky with the red card I think and the penalty but ‘Linesy has popped up with a great free-kick.
“I think we played better when it was 11 versus 11, I think sometimes when teams go down to ten men they compact it a bit more.
“I don’t think that at any point during the game we were massively under pressure.”
Birchall was at the centre of the penalty that was missed by Tom Pope. It was the midfielder’s surging run that caused the clumsy tackle and resulting red card but for Birchall it wasn’t a penalty.
“At the time I didn’t even know he gave it, I’ve just tried to get my shot off, I know he’s trying to come across me, I tried to fend him off a little bit and he’s caught me off balance.
“I fell down whilst taking the shot, I didn’t think really it was (a penalty).
“I suppose when you give a penalty and he’s the last man you have to send him off.”