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08 May 2017 : Defenders Tom Hardwick and Chris Lawton to remain the centre of attention at The Millbank

Two of the more experienced members of the Runcorn Linnets squad have joined the ever-increasing band of players to announce they are staying.

Central defenders Chris Lawton and Tom Hardwick bring a lot of know-how to the Millbank Linnets Stadium ranks.

They are the ninth and 10th players to commit to the Linnets since the final match of the season nine days ago.

In Lawty's case, however, his major influence could from now on be brought to bear more on the coaching side than as a player.

The veteran centre half's playing involvement has been scaled down since the turn of the year with Tom getting most if the action alongside ever-present, Aaron Morris.

Chris has, however, shown that he can still do a job on the field and his man-of-the-match performance as an emergency replacement 'keeper, after a sending off in the Boxing Day derby against Runcorn Town, means that the 2016-17 season is one he will never forget.

Manager Michael Ellison said: 'Lawty returned to the club in pre-season when we were in real turmoil and his experience helped us to get through those early months when we were rebuilding.

'He is still more than capable of playing but will now be just as vital to us in the backroom. He has previously been assistant manager at Barnton.

'With Danny Salt no longer able to commit to his coaching role, this is a perfect time for Chris to get more involved behind the scenes. He will still be registered for us as a player.'

Tom Hardwick came back to Linnets in January of this year after serving Colwyn Bay in the Evo-Stik League.

His involvement at the higher level - Tom also played NPL football with Warrington Town - has been invaluable in establishing Linnets as one of the most difficult teams to beat in The Hallmark Security League.

'Tom has bags of experience and is a commanding figure at the heart of our defence, next to Aaron,' added boss Ellison.

'They have played a big part in us having one of the best goals-against records in the Premier Division - bettered only by the champions, Atherton Colls.

'Tom has been in and around football at our level for several years now and it is reassuring to have someone of his stature heading up our defensive unit.'

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