Blyth Spartans defender Ryan Hutchinson has put pen to paper on a contract with the Croft Park club.
The deal runs until the end of the season and also has an option of another year.
Hutchinson joined Spartans from Northern Alliance side Seaton Delaval towards the end of the 2013-14 season and made two appearances as a midfielder, debuting from the bench in the 1-1 draw at Matlock Town.
A suspension to centre back Danny Parker at the start of this season saw Hutchinson – who spent the early part of his career in Celtic’s academy – handed the chance to partner Nathan Buddle at the heart of the defence.
It was a chance that he grasped with both hands and he has impressed in his new role with several eye catching displays.
He has also notched his first Spartans goal as he scored the winner in the league game at Halesowen Town in August and got a second with the opener in Saturday’s 7-1 demolition of Grantham Town.
Spartans manager Tom Wade said: “Ryan, like the other young lads who have came to the club last season, has been rewarded with a contract for the rest of the season with an option for an extra season.
“He has worked hard and he has shown he is a good player at this level.
“He has had a great season so far and I can only see him getting stronger in the second half.”
Hutchinson admitted that the hard work was only just beginning.
The defender said: “I’m very happy to sign the contract, it has been a very good season so far and it’s a great moment for me.
“However, now I just want to keep working hard for the team and hopefully keep improving throughout the months ahead.”
While admitting he still had a lot to learn as a defender, Hutchinson was quick to pay tribute to his team-mates and the coaches for helping him settle.
“The players and coaches around me are always giving me advice, whether that’s in training or during games it is great to have that,” he said.
“I feel like the more I play at centre back the more I am learning the position and hopefully can get better and better.”
Wade also believes that the decision to tie down Hutchinson to a contract shows that the club’s change in policy at the start of the 2013-14 that saw a number of promising younger players join Spartans is starting to show it’s benefits.
“The policy of the club is to ringfence the young talent we have brought in to build for the future,” he said.
“The coaching staff and the senior players are working hard to develop these young lads and so far the hard work is paying off.”
Hutchinson will be in the Spartans squad as they look to extend their winning sequence to seven games when Workington come to Croft Park on Boxing Day.
Hutchinson has been an integral part of what has already been a memorable season for the club.
Progress to the third round of the FA Cup has handed the Northumberland outfit a home tie with SkyBet Championship Birmingham City.
That cup run has had an impact on league performance too and at present they have as many as ten games in hand on their league rivals.
However, Hutchinson challenged his team-mates to show what they are made of between now and the end of the season.
He said: “We are in good form at the moment and we need to keep that going.
“We know we have a lot of games in hand so we need to win them and push ourselves up the table towards the play-offs.
“You can’t ignore the Birmingham City game and we want to show what we can do and do ourselves justice there.
“There is plenty to look forward to.”