MANAGER Liam McDonald has said Redditch United stand to benefit from Omari Sterling-James’ switch to Cheltenham Town.

The 20-year-old took his first steps into professional football when he put pen to paper on an initial six-month deal after impressing Robins boss Mark Yates during a trial spell this summer.

As part of the deal, United are guaranteed a pre-season friendly against a strong Town side and will be able to use their relationship with the SkyBet League Two side to their advantage in terms of bringing in loan players.

Sterling-James’ move continues his meteoric rise up the non-league ladder.

As a member of Birmingham City’s youth scheme he played for Alvechurch and Walsall’s reserves but saw a move to The Saddlers fall through.

The attacker then joined United last season and scored 13 goals as the Reds finished tenth in the Southern Premier.

“I always disappointed to see a good player leave but I am delighted for Omari,” said manager Liam McDonald.

“I said to him when we signed him from Alvechurch that he would go onto a Football League club, but I think he’s actually six months ahead of schedule.

“I am sure he’s going to do well for them and I believe he could play even higher.

“I believe the likes of Jamie Spencer, Jim Mutton, Dan Scarr and Leavi Oshungbure will all go onto play in the Football League in the future.

“We’ve built a good relationship with Cheltenham, although I must stress we are not a feeder club to anyone.”

McDonald is keen to stress that last season’s top-scorer Jermaine Hylton is not ready for a move into the professional ranks at this moment in time.

Hylton was also on trial at Whaddon Road but the Redditch manager does not want to lose another of his group.

He said: “I have had so many calls about Jermaine, but I must stress that he has signed a deal and will be playing for us next season.

“There are two clubs from the Football League who are keeping tabs on him and they know that we feel he needs another six months or so of regular football under his belt.”

Redditch continue pre-season at home to Gosport on Saturday and African outfit Guinea Bissau on Tuesday.