Mon, Mar

Port Vale winger Chris Birchall is just two games from fulfilling a life-long dream and playing in the World Cup finals. The 21-year-old is set to start for Trinidad and Tobago in their crunch play-off against Bahrain tonight, with the second leg on Wednesday.

Birchall is hopeful of repeating the performance which saw his unfancied adopted country overcome the odds and defeat Mexico to be a stone's throw away from making history.

Trinidad have never played in the World Cup finals before and Birchall is taking nothing for granted against the unknown quantity of Bahrain.

He said: "It has still not really sunk in just how close we are to getting to the World Cup finals and I am just looking forward to playing the two games.

"Everyone in the camp is confident of doing well as nobody gave us a chance against Mexico, but Bahrain are unknown to us at the minute.

"I never thought that I would be so close to reaching the World Cup as a 21-year-old League One player and even Dwight Yorke, who has won most things in the game, is excited about the prospect of playing in the finals.

"It would be a dream come true to actually make it to Germany, as I watched the World Cups when I was a kid and couldn't have imagined that I would be so close."

Birchall, who will be deployed as a central midfielder for the two games, has had to restrict his appearances for Vale this season due to internationals, but has the full support of Martin Foyle and fellow players.

He said: "I speak to the gaffer a lot before the games and after to keep in touch and say how I am feeling and he has been very supportive about me playing for Trinidad."