MARTIN MacDonald has agreed a new contract at Station Park to keep him at Nairn County until 2019, writes Graeme Macleod.
The central defender penned the new three-and-a-half year contract this morning having rebuffed an approach from Buckie Thistle and interest from Deveronvale and Clachnacuddin.
As the ink was drying, the 33-year-old said: "It was an easy decision to stay. I have been talking to Les for a while and I went into it all along with a view to staying - the only thing that has been annoying me is not being able to play."
"As soon as he offered me the deal, I was delighted. I have had opportunities to go elsewhere over the last few years but I enjoy it at Nairn and everyone at the club is brilliant. The players in the squad are all good craic as well and there is no reason for me to go anywhere else".
"I could not see myself playing for any other club. I know how the club works and they have been good with me. I am delighted it is now all sorted and I just want to get back playing as soon as possible."
MacDonald joined Nairn from Brora Rangers in 2005 and has made 359 appearances, scoring 29 goals.
Only three of those appearances occurred this season though, as a knee injury at Deveronvale curtailed the defender's campaign.
That did not deter the club when it came to offering MacDonald fresh terms though, much to his relief.
He added: "This has been the first long term injury I have ever had and it has been really frustrating. The club could have told me that they wanted me to get myself fit before talking about a new deal but they never and fair play to them for that. It shows me that they think I am an important part of the squad, so I was delighted when they made me the offer."
MacDonald is aiming to be back in the squad soon as he revealed he is nearly at the end of the long road to recovery.
He said: "I am back in full training now. Hopefully, in a few more weeks, I will be knocking on the door and can get back to playing. When I was working my way back from the injury, my aim was to be fit in time to do a full pre-season but now I have come back earlier, I just want to play - any games I can play between now and the end of the season will be a bonus."
Manager Les Fridge was pleased to retain his longest serving player in another boost to his squad having secured the future of another important player, Alan Pollock, just last month.
He said: "Bobo has been at the club a long time and has been a great servant over the years. We are delighted to tie him down to a new contract. Obviously, he has been out injured since the third game of the season but we know what he is capable of and we are delighted that he has agreed a new deal."
"It is something I have been working on for several months and it is my policy to speak to players when they enter the final year of their contract, so I have been speaking to all players in that situation frequently over the six months of the season so far."
One of those players is top scorer, Conor Gethins and Fridge revealed there has been some movement in his attempts to tie down the 32-year-old.
He said: "I have spoken to Conor several times this season. The wee man has said that he wants to wait until the end of the season and we will sit down then to have a chat. If he wants to speak before then though, he knows where I am - he can just come and see me and we can sort it out. At the moment though, he wants to leave it until the summer and just concentrate on doing as well as he can between now and the end of the season when we will sit down again and talk."
"We are relaxed about it and not panicking - it is quite common nowadays for players to address their futures once their contracts have expired. There have been several occasions in the past where our own players have waited until the end of their last season before signing a new deal and staying with us. But, as I said, the wee man can come and have a chat any time if he wants to get it sorted before the end of the season."
Fridge is already making moves to improve his squad for next season and revealed he is in discussions with several players about making the switch to Station Park in the summer.
He stated: "I have identified areas I feel we need to strengthen because I feel there is a need to improve the squad in the summer. I have drawn up a list of players who I want to bring to the club and I have already started speaking to the ones who are in the final year of their contracts with a view to bringing them in during the summer, which I am entitled to do from January 1st onwards. It is an ongoing thing I have been working on for the last couple of months and does not just happen overnight."
"It is something I have been working on for a while and it is important to have a list of different targets because you are never going to get everybody on the list."