CHRIS Birchall has received the green light to start his second spell with Port Vale after being granted international clearance.
The 27-year-old midfielder, from Newcastle, has agreed a month-to-month deal and could make his debut in tomorrow's match at Northampton (3pm).
Birchall, who left American side LA Galaxy in December, had been training with the Valiants and played in Wednesday's 1-1 reserve-team draw with Walsall.
He previously made 91 appearances for Vale between 2001 and 2006.
However, the former Coventry and Brighton midfielder is likely to start on the substitutes' bench at Sixfields as he continues to build up his fitness.
Birchall's inclusion in the travelling party increases boss Micky Adams's selection dilemma.
Fellow newcomers Chris Shuker and Paul Marshall impressed after coming on as substitutes in last Saturday's 2-1 victory over Gillingham at Vale Park.
The Valiants were trailing before Adams threw on the duo, who were instrumental in the late turnaround as Sean Rigg and Marc Richards scored inside the last 10 minutes.
"I'd like to think we will play better in the first hour tomorrow," said Adams.
"The players looked a little bit lethargic and tired – that can't happen again on Saturday because we could be out of the game in the first hour.
"But credit to the boys because they stuck to their tasks and kept going against Gillingham.
"The substitutions helped, so it's a dilemma over which team to pick because the boys who came off the bench last weekend all did themselves a lot of good.
"They also revitalised the team at a crucial stage and helped us pick up three points."