Michael O'Connor: Port Vale midfielder uncertain of future in Potteries

Port Vale midfielder Michael O'Connor (left) scored twice in his side's 4-1 win at home to Rochdale
Vale midfielder Michael O'Connor (left) scored twice in Saturday's 4-1 win at home to Rochdale

Port Vale midfielder Michael O'Connor will wait to see if he gets any offers closer to home before deciding whether he has a future at the League One club.

The 28-year-old Northern Ireland international is one of several players still to find out if they are to be offered a new deal by up-for-sale Vale.

He admitted a move close to his Lincolnshire home could be tempting.

"If a club came in closer to home, depending on what league they're in and who it is, I'd consider it," he said.

The former Crewe, Lincoln, Scunthorpe and Rotherham United man told BBC Radio Stoke: "All that driving, being stuck in traffic, then getting out to train when you've been sat in the car for two and a half hours - it's what you do because you have to pay the bills.

"But it's hard going. I sometimes try to stay over on Thursdays to break up the driving a bit. But to do two years like that, I need patting on the back.

"Vale is a great club to be at. I've enjoyed every minute of it, even the driving. But I don't think anyone who's out of contract knows what they're doing," added O'Connor, who is coming to the end of a second one-year deal with the Valiants, after joining from Rotherham in 2014.

"I've not been offered a third year. It's not nice being out of contract and not knowing what you're doing next year. It plays on you a bit, especially if you have a young family and bills to pay."

More budget cuts in Burslem

Vale chairman Norman Smurthwaite warned in January that the club's budget may have to be cut by a further £800,000, but manager Rob Page is now hopeful that any cuts will not be so drastic, following a positive meeting to talk over next season's playing budget.

The uncertain contractual position affecting so many Vale players, including captain Carl Dickinson and top scorer AJ Leitch-Smith is yet to have a discernible effect on the pitch.

Their current run of nine goals, nine points and three wins from three games is, on boss Rob Page's orders, their best of the season.

"Over the last three games the lads have put themselves in the shop window," added O'Connor. "If not here, then somewhere else."

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