Ross Sykes has been offered a new deal at Accrington Stanley – and hopes to close in on a squad place next season.
The defender, 19, made his league debut for the Reds last season, in August in the 2-2 draw at Notts County, and also came on in the 4-0 win over Chesterfield at home in January. He also spent time out on loan at Southport during the last campaign.
“I was released from Burnley’s Academy when I was 13 and I wanted to give up football,” said Sykes, who went to Unity College in Burnley.
“My mum persuaded me to keep going and I came on trial at Accrington, enjoyed it and then I captained the youth team and have made my way up to the first team.
“I have played in the Checkatrade Trophy and two league games. It is hard to get into the team, especially when we did so well as we did last year but you have to keep on trying to impress.
“I admire Yozzer (Mark Hughes) as he never gives the ball away and I work with him a lot in training.
“I need to try and do well in the pre-season games, be the fittest I can be and see where it takes me. To be offered a new deal is a boost to my confidence.
“It is unbelievable that I wanted to give up football at 13 and now I am living every boy’s dream of being a professional footballer and I have got to make the most of it.”