Port Vale: Doug Loft starts negotiations over new contract
SKIPPER Doug Loft has opened talks on a new deal with Port Vale.
And the 26-year-old, whose current contract runs out at the end of the season, says he's keen to stay.
Loft has been an impressive performer for the promotion-chasing Valiants, both at left-back and now in his favoured midfield position.
He missed part of this season with a calf strain, but has been ever-present since his return, forging a formidable partnership in the middle of the park with Ryan Burge to help Vale to the top of League Two.
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Fans' favourite Loft is one of several key players running towards the end of their current deals, alongside the likes of forward Louis Dodds and winger Ashley Vincent.
"The gaffer has spoken to me about a new contract," said Loft.
"He wants me to sign and I want to sign, so I'm sure we'll sort something out soon.
"I'm talking to my agent about it, but I want to stay and hopefully we can get everything done quickly."
Loft, who lives in Stone with his young family, joined Vale from Brighton in 2009.
He has since made 123 starts for the club, with another 19 appearances as a substitute, and has scored eight goals.
"I'm settled in the area and I'm enjoying life at Port Vale, so hopefully we can do the deal," he added.
"I like working with the gaffer. He's an experienced football man who has had three promotions in his managerial career.
"We were top in 2010 when he left for Sheffield United and we finished outside the play-off places, so it shows what a difference he made.
"He's been there and done it and, hopefully, he'll make it a fourth promotion with us."
Vale go into tomorrow's game at home to mid-table Morecambe (3pm) looking to extend their one-point advantage over Gillingham at the top of the table.
Loft is expecting another tough test of the Valiants' promotion credentials as the countdown towards the end of the season continues.
"We've been playing well lately and we're unbeaten in six games," he said.
"But we know there are 15 hard games ahead of us and we're not expecting an easy ride.
"We've opened up a bit of a gap and the signs look promising, but it's up to us to go out and capitalise on the position we've put ourselves in.
"We're looking no further than the Morecambe game and that will be tough.
"They're a big, physical side and one of the hardest teams to play each season.
"But we nicked a win up there in August and hopefully we can make it a double against them.
"We'd like to put on a show for the supporters, but playing well is not the most important thing to me.
"It's about getting the three points at this stage and grinding out the result if that's what we need to do."
Big-match preview: Page 54