Chester FC have confirmed defenders Ben Heneghan and Ryan Higgins have signed new 12 month contracts with the club.
Last week manager Steve Burr agreed an extension until the end of the 2016-17 campaign and reiterated his desire to retain the nucleus of his squad, which has performed above expectations this term.
Heneghan, 21, and Higgins, 20, are the first out-of-contract players to commit to the club, penning deals until the end of next season.
Keeping hold of the talented pair, who were named on the standby list for the England C squad in February, will delight the manager as both had attracted interest from other clubs.
"I’m very happy to sign the new deal," said Heneghan, who joined the club in August having been released by Stoke City.
"I’ve played quite a few games this season and hopefully can carry that on into next season.
"Football League for this club is the main aim in the long term without a doubt. We want to fight for play-offs next year the higher up the table, the better."
Salford-born Heneghan has made 40 appearances, scoring an impressive eight goals, including a last-gasp winner in the 2-1 defeat of Wrexham in September.
He came into the team at right-back but has produced a series of excellent performance since being moved to his preferred centre-back role.
Heneghan said: "This season's been really good for me. Last year I didn’t play that much football, so to get the opportunity to play 40 odd games this year has been good. It’s helped my development a lot, especially playing at centre back.
"The Wrexham goal was my first goal for the club and allowed me to go on a little scoring streak. It's the highlight of my career so far without a doubt and I’m very happy to be here next season."
Higgins, who like Heneghan came through the academy at Everton, moved to the Swansway Chester Stadium in December from Vanarama Conference rivals AFC Telford United, who he joined in September having previously been at Birmingham City.
He has been an ever present since then, catching the eye with a series of good performances at right-back.
"I'm made up with the new deal," said Higgins.
"I only signed until the end of this season, so when the gaffer and Macca came to me and said they wanted me for next season there was a bit of security and a confidence going on to the end of the season.
"It's good to go on holiday and know you're coming back to play football. This season started on a bit of a low after being released from Birmingham but after going to Telford and then moving up to a club like Chester, my confidence has grown from strength to strength.
"When I first came I knew a few of the lads, and got on with everyone straight away.
"Knowing that some of the lads who are here now will be here with us next season is a massive boost, so we can push on for promotion.
"My aspirations are to get into the Football League, and to do it with a club like Chester would be perfect, for myself, the gaffer and the fans."