STUART McCall reckons that talking round Mark Marshall into staying with City was arguably his biggest call since coming back.

The winger missed out to Bury striker James Vaughan for League One’s player of the month award today.

But McCall has no doubts about Marshall’s “terrific” value to his own team in the League One promotion race.

His nomination for the monthly individual prize has highlighted the change in fortunes for a player who had been looking to get away last summer after a difficult first year at the club.

McCall said: “I remember him outside the bus at Gateshead in pre-season saying to me that he wanted to leave.

“I told him in no uncertain terms to get back on the bus and go up to Scotland with us. We were struggling for numbers and I wanted him to give it a chance for a week.

“Since then he’s been too valuable for us. He’s been a delight to work with and always has a smile on his face.

“Wingers aren’t known for their work ethic but Marshy is conscientious enough.

“He can play on the left, right or through the middle and he is equally at home shooting with his left foot or his right.

“We aim to create an environment where people enjoy coming into work.

“Marshy has bought right into that and he’s enjoying his football. He’s been terrific for us and I just hope he keeps his form up between now and the end of the season because he’s a huge threat.”

Marshall, who has played 34 times, is one of six senior players out of contract in the summer. Stephen Darby, Tony McMahon, Rory McArdle, James Meredith and Matt Kilgallon also have deals up at the end of the season.

McCall confirmed that “initial talks have taken place with certain players and the club” and more are planned over the coming weeks.

But he does not see a contract issue creating a distraction for the final 16 games of the season.

He said: “I remember with myself when we came down from the Premier League under Jim Jefferies. I didn’t sign until that summer.

“It’s always great to have a bit of security as a player. But what it did was focus me to give my absolute maximum to earn a contract here – or to impress other people watching.

“I’ve no worries it will affect any player but I do know there have been discussions with some of those lads and more will follow.”