Chorley FC boss Garry Flitcroft believes he has one of the gems of non-league football in dynamo Dale Whitham.
The ex-Leigh Genesis ace trainee has been one of the stars for the Magpies since Flitcroft arrived at Victory Park in May 2010 and scored twice against Worksop on Saturday.
After helping Chorley into the Evostik Premier League in his first season, there was interest by Football League clubs in the young midfielder.
However, Flitcroft believed he would use all his experience in helping Whitham to grow.
He said: “Dale has been great, always giving 120 per cent every time from breaking things up to getting 20 goals.
“He is a joy to work with and the other thing is that he keeps his head down.
“I have played him in a number of positions this season and I think that he would be comfortable at centre half, midfield or even up front.
“He scored two goals on Saturday and that was just the half of it because he was making lots of challenges to win the ball back. There are not many players in our division like him – box to box.
“A few League Two clubs were after him in the summer but I told them that he would be better to build himself up and come back a better player.
“He has done that and even though he is so young all the players respect him and we are very lucky to have him.”
Flitcroft will be hoping that Whitham will be at his best when they travel to Chester tonight (Wednesday).
He believes it will be a chance to assess their progress this season.
He said: “I have watched them a couple of times and even though a number of their players left, they are still one of our main rivals for the league and it is going to be our biggest test.”
The Magpies also entertain Burscough on Saturday in a rearranged league game after the Magpies were dumped out of the league.
Flitcroft’s side have only conceded six league goals and he says it’s vital they stay strong at the back.
He said: “We have been organised by defending from the front and the strikers.
“Last season I knew we had a strong squad and we added to it with players like Chris Denham, Simon Whalley and Lee McEvilly coming in.
“They have all played at a higher level so it can only strengthen the club.
“John Cunliffe is only coming back while our top scorer Steve Foster is injured so we are in a good position.”