MIDFIELD maestro Ashley Nicholls has signed a new one-year deal with the Magpies to the delight of Phil Simkin.

The 30-year-old was one of Dorchester Town’s standout players last season and retaining his services has been one of the club’s main priorities since the end of the campaign.

Simkin told Echosport: “I am delighted to say Ashley has signed a new contract for next season.

“Everybody takes time to settle at a new club and with the way we were playing at the time he arrived it didn’t really suit him.

“However, the change in playing style during last season proved a lot more to his liking and over the course of the campaign he formed a formidable partnership with Jamie Gleeson in the centre of the midfield.

“Towards the end of the season, teams tried to man mark him in a bid to stop him but he has far too much quality for that and he really is a key player for us as everything goes through him.

“He is one of the most experienced players in the league and we are overjoyed he will be with us again next season.”

Simkin’s other priority this summer is to boost his striking options and he claims progress is being made.

He added: “Everything has been pretty much sorted with the current squad and it’s now just a case of bringing in reinforcements in a limited budget.

“Top strikers, in particular, are a precious commodity and they know that.

“They are not easy to find when you have got funds but we are making progress.

“We would obviously like a permanent replacement but if we do not have the resources to do that then I will look to the loan market.

“Tom Nichols came in last season and was a massive success but with Exeter City having got relegated we are not sure what is happening there at the moment.

“The only thing I do know is that if they do decide to loan him out again they would like him to come here.”

Town have a great relationship with the Grecians and in particular director of football Steve Perryman, who is still in intensive care following heart surgery.

Simkin went on to say: “Steve is not at all well at the moment and I hope to God he recovers. He is a good friend and has always been a massive help to this football club.”