McDonald - Key pair are staying

Redditch Advertiser: (7927904) (7927904)

LIAM McDonald has stressed that Omari Sterling-James and Jermaine Hylton are completely committed to playing for Redditch United next season.

The manager has moved to allay fans' fears that two of the team's breakout super stars will be snapped up by League Two outfit Cheltenham Town.

McDonald and his advisor Paul West arranged for the fleet-footed attackers to train with the Robins in pre-season.

However, the youthful duo are also still training with the Reds and will be playing in their pre-season games, despite reports they will turn out for Cheltenham this summer.

He said: "I want to make it clear that Jermaine and Omari have signed deals and will be playing for Redditch next season.

"They are training at Cheltenham because Paul West and I have organised it.

"It's a reward for how well they have done last season, they will get to see what it's like at Football League club.

"There's been a lot of interest in the pair of them but they are very happy at Redditch.

"They have attended all but one of our training sessions and they only missed that one because they were having their fitness tested at Cheltenham.

"They will be playing in our friendly games starting with Studley on Saturday.

"I know the fans are worried about them leaving but both Jermaine and Omari will only progress if they score goals for Redditch next season.

"It's also a great way to attract young players if we can give them this kind of opportunity."

McDonald has worked hard to retain all of the players he wanted to keep from last season's squad, which finished tenth in the Southern League Premier and won the Worcestershire Senior Cup.

He paid tribute to chairman Chris Swan for supporting his efforts to keep his squad together.

He added: "I know supporters are concerned but this is a new Redditch.

"One of the reasons I stayed was that Chris Swan was committed to helping me keep all the lads we wanted and apart from Sam Young we have succeeded in that.

"This is a club where we are looking forward and want to progress and Chris, Paul West and myself are involved in that."

United, who play Pershore away on Tuesday night, have been drawn away at either Evesham or Kidsgrove in the FA Cup first qualifying round on Saturday, September 13.

In the FA Trophy, they will go to Corby in the first qualifying round on November 1.

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