KENNY STRICKLAND has been rewarded with a new contract by Skelmersdale United - and backed by his manager to move through the football pyramid.
The former Manchester United and Chelsea youth player has put pen to paper on new terms with the Evo-Stik First Division North side who have been delighted with the 21-year-old's progress since joining nearly two years ago.
Manager Tommy Lawson says the club have received no bids for the defender but is aware that an increasing number of scouts sit and watch Strickland in action.
Strickland, from Ormskirk, celebrated his new deal with one of the goals in Skem's FA Cup win over Formby last weekend.
"Kenny has been on a contract last season but we just felt we needed to reserve his loyalty with another contract," said Lawson.
"He is a wonderful footballer and also a great lad. He has given total commitment to Skem and always gives you everything he has got. He is never caught short for effort.
"We know the scouts are out there and that people are aware of him - why wouldn't they be?
"Is he the next Skem player to move up through the levels? Put it this way, he has the capabilities of playing higher and he is young enough."
Skem were trailing to North West Counties First Division side Formby at half-time so was it a case of strong words at the break?
"Not at all," said Lawson.
"We got a really good test from Formby and they are due a lot of respect for that. They have got a quality side there and they contested the game all over the park. The key was keeping our patience and discipline.”