NOT even the widely-expected departure of skipper Dominic Morley to Southport could spoil the feelgood factor at Runcorn FC Halton this week.

Out-of-contract Morley was reunited with ex-boss Liam Watson and three of his former Linnets teammates at Haig Avenue - after helping the Halton Stadium club achieve their Conference North ambitions.

But player-boss Chris Lightfoot revealed player-of-the-year, midfielder Matty McGinn and goalkeeper Tony McMillan are taking up options on their contracts.

Meanwhile, central defender Peter Ellis and wing-backs Steve Carragher and David Ness are to sign new deals.

Lightfoot said: 'I spoke to Dom before the deadline and he said he was going to Southport.

'To be fair to him, he has never let up and given me his all every game. I can't argue with his commitment and wish him all the best.

'That apart, I would like to keep virtually every one else involved.'

Lightfoot can now take stock of a rollercoaster first seven months in management and prepare for a new challenge next season.

He said: 'I have really enjoyed it. It's been hard work but we've got where we wanted to be. A lot of people didn't expect us to be there but we have proved them wrong.

'In the last six weeks, we have played a hell of a lot of games and there has only been a couple of blips - at Whitby and against Burscough. Other than that, we've done well in every game.

'Somebody asked me to single one player out and I said I couldn't. Every one of them has given me 120% since I got the job. We are in it together as a team and proved good enough to finish in the top 13.

'I am going to have a chat with the chairman early next week about what sort of funds are avaiable, if any, for next season and what I can bring in and let go.

'I have made a couple of phone calls already and have a couple of players lined up. Hopefully, I will get something sorted to get them on board.'

Lightfoot has, meanwhile, confirmed he has every intention of continuing his involvement as a player.