Walsall boss Dean Smith today revealed he has opened talks with influential captain Andy Butler about a new contract.
The skipper's deal expires at the end of the season and the manager has moved to tie down one of his key men.
Butler has already stated he wants to stay at the Saddlers, who he joined in November 2010, and is now talking terms with the club.
Smith said: “Andy Butler I’m speaking to. He’s an integral part of the squad, a captain and a leader on the pitch and in the dressing room.
"He’s been really good and I want Andy to stop. I’ve spoken to him about that and I believe he wants to stay as well. Hopefully, we are not too far away from sorting out a deal with him.
“Andy is a sensible lad and he’s learnt from his past where he left Scunthorpe, went to Huddersfield and had a really tough time.
“He’s at a place he’s well respected by not just his peers but the supporters as well and he wants to continue doing that.”
Butler, a double Player of the Year, has made 121 appearances and scored 12 goals for the club to twice help them beat the drop in 2011 and 2012.
Tomorrow, eighth-placed Walsall host Crawley chasing the League One play-offs and Smith hailed his captain’s influence since he took over.
He said: “He’s been monumental in what we’re doing. There’s not many centre halves in this league I’d look at to replace Andy Butler.
“That’s a credit to him. He heads and volleys everything, has got better as a footballer, understands the game and takes a lot of responsibility off the lads.”
Butler joins 18-goal top scorer Will Grigg and Febian Brandy in contract talks with the Saddlers after they sealed the futures of Andy Taylor, James Baxendale, Mal Benning and Nicky Featherstone.