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Chris Birchall vs Burton

CHRIS Birchall admits he has no idea whether he's done enough to keep his place for Friday's FA Cup tie with Salisbury, despite helping Port Vale to a 2-0 victory at Walsall.

The 29-year-old midfielder was recalled to the starting line-up and carried out his assignment with an industrious performance on the right flank.

But he says he can't take anything for granted because of fierce competition in Micky Adams' squad.

Birchall, who has started six games this season, said: "A lot of lads in the dressing room on Saturday were saying that was our best team performance of the year, so I am hoping I can keep my place.

"But you don't know what the manager is going to do from week to week. Sometimes he has changed the team when we are winning, so he keeps us on our toes.

"If you are not in the side he will play you in reserve games when he feels you need a bit of match fitness and sharpness.

"So you know you are always going to be in contention. This is not one of those clubs where you know you are going to be stuck in the reserves all year.

"You do get a chance and a lot of players have taken it."

Birchall is potentially competing with Louis Dodds and Rob Taylor for a place in midfield on Friday.

He added: "Rob put in a great performance at Crewe then found himself not in the team. That's the way it goes.

"You know you will get your chance and you have to keep plugging away to try to do well when called on."