JOSH Wardle, a player Carl Macauley believes performed better than any other in his team last season, has agreed to stay at Witton Albion.

The defender, picked by the manager has his player of the campaign, received an offer from at least one rival in the Northern Premier League and has attracted interest from National League North clubs.

However he has been persuaded to remain at Wincham Park.

“Josh has knocked back big money to go elsewhere and fair play to him for doing that,” Macauley told the Guardian.

“He’s a genuine lad who has worked so hard at his game and also loves playing here.

“When it comes to football, we’ve never doubted that he wanted to carry on.

“However, like some of the others, he had some concerns about the situation at the club and whether we’d be able to compete in the top-half of the table again.”

Wardle, 22, started every Premier Division fixture for Albion last season following a transfer from Skelmersdale United.

He made more than 50 appearances in all competitions, and formed part of a defence that kept the most clean-sheets in league’s top-flight.

His consistency, and durability, impressed Macauley.

He added: “He played for a long time while nursing a groin strain; that’s how much it meant to him to contribute.

“He’s a fantastic young player, and learned so quickly despite it being his first season at this level.”

Witton‘s boss has now agreed terms, in many cases reduced, with nine members of last season's squad.

Osebi Abadaki won't be returning after agreeing to sign again for Hednesford, one of his former clubs.

He had been invited back for pre-season.

Matty Devine has transferred to Nantwich, while River Humphreys won't be offered a deal because work commitments prevent him training with the team and playing in midweek.

Two new recruits, James Murray and James Short from Marine, leave him in a strong position.