WEMBLEY hero Ben Purrington is prepared to turn his back on his Rotherham United career in favour of staying with Charlton Athletic.
The Millers defender spent the second half of the season on loan with the Addicks and scored in last Sunday's League One Play-off Final as Lee Bowyer's side secured promotion to the Championship at the expense of Sunderland.
After failing to secure a regular starting role following a £300,000 move from Plymouth Argyle to AESSEAL New York Stadium in early 2017, Purrington joined Charlton last January and was on the losing side only twice in 21 outings.
The left-back says he is “100 per cent open” to remaining at the Valley next term in the second tier.
Speaking in the build-up to the 2-1 triumph over Sunderland, the left-back told South East London website News Shopper: “I’ve enjoyed every minute of the second half of the season here and luckily we’ve done very well.
“I’ve not had the conversation yet but obviously I would 100 per cent be open to staying.
“After Sunday (the play-off final) that’s when a few conversations will start happening.”
Paul Warne is ready to offer Purrington, who has just celebrated his 23rd birthday, a fresh start in South Yorkshire but is unlikely to stand in his way if he’d prefer to leave.
The former Argyle man has been kept out of Warne's side for two seasons by the form of 2019 Players' Player of the Year Joe Mattock and has managed only 17 league starts.
“If Ben wants to come back and compete, then that is absolutely fine,” the manager said. “I haven't shut the door on him, anything but.
“If he comes back in pre-season and knocks Joe out of the water, then fine. If he comes back and thinks it's going to be too difficult to get back in the team and wants to go and play somewhere else, that would be a different conversation.”
Purrington spent the first half of the season on loan at AFC Wimbledon before switching to the Addicks. He has a year left on his contract and the Millers would prefer to cash in with a sale rather than allow him to depart on loan again.
The player is an admirer of Charlton boss Bowyer, saying: “I’ve definitely improved.
“Everything he says, it’s all constructive and you learn little things all the time.
“The main thing is that he wants the best from everyone in training every day and that makes you a better player. He’s been great to me and the team.”
Purrington had no idea how to react at Wembley when he made the score 1-1 with a close-range finish after Charlton had conceded a soft own goal in the opening minutes.
“It's my first league goal ever,” he said. “I've scored a few in the FA Cup, but never in the league before. There's no better feeling than that. I didn't have a clue what to do celebration-wise!
“We had a terrible start and didn't settle into the game until about half an hour in.”
This article first appeared in the Advertiser