VETERAN midfielder Gareth Barry has finally signed a new contract with West Brom until the end of the season – and immediately set his sights on adding to his record 653 Premier League appearances.
The 38-year-old feared his career could be over after suffering a crippling knee injury last season.
But Bilic re-assured him he was crucial to his promotion push and there would be a place for him with the Championship pacesetters once returned to full fitness.
Barry revealed seeing that light at the end of the tunnel gave him the incentive to battle back from his injury hell and intends to repay Bilic by helping Albion return to the Premier League.
The former England midfielder said: “I didn’t want to finish my career on an injury.
“I’ve known a few of my team mates down the years who have had to do that – any player would want to finish on his own terms.
I was really enjoying my football before the injury last season and while there is still enjoyment and I can reach the levels I need to, I’m going to continue.
“I came to West Brom as a Premier League club and I want to help take it back there. I believe it is where this club really deserves to be.
“I also want to thank Slaven who has been massively supportive to me from day one.
“He made it clear he had a role for me, told me to take my time and get myself ready.
“That was fantastic to hear.
“I’ve been in with the squad for the last six weeks and I know what a talented group we have and I want to play my part.
“It’s not going to be an easy team to break into but I’ll do whatever is necessary.”