Following on from the news yesterday that centre half Danny Lafferty had agreed to a new one year contract, Atherton Collieries are delighted to announce that winger Ben Hardcastle has also agreed to a new deal, which will keep him at Colls until the summer of 2019.
The 23-year old, who is Atherton born and bred, joined Collieries in the summer of 2014, becoming Michael Clegg’s first signing as manager. He recently made his 200th appearance for the club and was also awarded the captain’s armband for the occasion at Kendal Town.
Hardcastle was an instant hit at Colls, scoring a crucial goal on the opening day of the 2014 campaign, as the club beat eventual promotion rivals Cammell Laird. That goal set the tone for the season, as Hardcastle played a pivotal role in seeing the club promoted into the NWCFL Premier Division. His form continued and four years later he now boasts 68 goals from his midfield position.
Michael Clegg is naturally happy to have tied Hardcastle down to a new deal, having worked with him now for a number of years, as he explained, “I have managed Ben for six years now, having had him play under me at Pennington in the Manchester League and at Atherton LR.”
It has been well documented that the team began to struggle before Christmas and it could have been an opportunity for players such as Hardcastle to look elsewhere as they look to further test themselves. “Ben has seen how much this team has progressed since Christmas and in that time he’s also realised he can still progress as a player while being at Atherton Collieries Football Club.”
“His dedication is second to none and we are now challenging him every week to be better than he was the week before. The great thing is, he relishes those challenges that we set him.” Clegg further explained.
“It goes without saying that everyone at the club will be excited that Ben wants to stay. It shows our ambition and it shows that local talented players see their futures here.”