PICKERING Town manager Paul Marshall has agreed to postpone his retirement and stay at Mill Lane for another 12 months, writes Ian Appleyard.

Chairman Wayne Taylor revealed that Marshall was ready to hang up his tracksuit this summer after steering the Pikes to their joint highest league position in history.

But now, after talks with Taylor, the 54-year-old is staying on to lead the club's challenge for the Toolstation Northern Counties East League title.

"We are delighted and this is great news for Pickering Town," said Taylor. "He was thinking about retiring - and it was far from a certainty that he would stay - but I have twisted his arm and got him to commit for another 12 months.

"We have tasted success this season and want to go forward again," he added. "Paul feels that we only need to tweak things a little bit over the summer. If we can keep everyone together, and get a couple of new faces in, we will be a big threat again."

The Pikes finished runners-up to Cleethorpes Town in last season's NCEL premier division and also played Whitby Town in the final of the North Riding FA Senior Cup at Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium.

"It was a massive achievement for a small club out on a limb but it shows that you can achieve good things if you get a good group of lads together," said Taylor.

"Paul has assembled a fantastic squad with a great dressing room spirit. The priority now is keeping that squad together. He has spoken to everyone and they say they want to stay so, hopefully, we will secure everyone's signatures in the next few weeks."

Ironically, the Pikes have already waved farewell to one key element of last season's team with winger Joe Danby moving to Scarborough Athletic in Evo-Stik First Division North.

Danby, 25, had spent five years at Mill Lane but jumped at the opportunity to return to his hometown club who are starting life at a new stadium in Scarborough and planning a serious push for promotion.

He is the third Pickering player to move to Scarborough in the last seven months following in the footsteps of both defender Matty Turnbull and striker Billy Logan.

Boro manager Steve Kittrick has wasted no time in strengthening his squad after narrowly missing out on promotion in last season's play-offs.

Former Bradford City winger Leon Osborne and defender Mark Dempsey have both joined the club from Hyde United while midfielder Luke Dean has arrived from Bradford Park Avenue.

Former Scarborough and Tadcaster Albion midfielder Jimmy Beadle will also be joining the club for pre-season training in July.

"Joe (Danby) is somebody we've been watching for a while," said Kittrick. "He did well against us in pre-season and also in the North Riding FA Cup.

"He wanted a chance to play in a higher league and we've given him that. I think he's very capable of pushing on."

Danby, who can also play at leftback or in attack, originally came through Scarborough FC's school of excellence and played for both Scarborough Town and Bridlington Town before joining Pickering in 2012.

Defender Ellis Humble, meanwhile, has opted to leave Boro for Spalding United.

Boro have also announced that Jacob Hazel, James Cadman, Dave Merris, Jamie Price and Turnbull are staying at the club next season.

Whitby Town have announced plans to stage a pre-season tournament at the Turnbull Ground involving Celtic, Newcastle United, and Dutch club AZ Alkmaar.

Manager Chris Hardy said "We’re set to take on some of football’s biggest names and all of us on the playing side of things are relishing the challenge. It’s a great chance for us to put the club on the map. In terms of generating interest, ahead of a season where we’re aiming for play-offs and promotion, it couldn’t be better."

Tickets for each game of the tournament, which takes place July 27, 28, 29, cost £10 for adults, £6 concessions, and £3 for children and can be booked at Whitby's Spa Pavilion or via the club's website www.whitby-town.com.

The Blues have also announced their retained list for next season, securing the services of Shane Bland, Dale Hopson, Steven Snaith, Andrew May David Carson, Adam Gell, Matty Tymon, Daniel McWilliams, Callum Martin, Mikey Roberts, Kieran Weledji, and Luke Bythway.