Buxton FC joint boss Paul Phillips said it was a “no-brainer” to tie defender Nico Degirolamo to a contract for next season.
Degirolamo, who joined the Bucks earlier this year from Matlock Town, penned a new 12-month deal to stay at Silverlands this week.
He is the fifth player from last season’s roster to commit to the club as Phillips and Steve Halford assemble their new-look squad.
Phillips had nothing but praise for the former Heanor Town and Mickleover Sports defender since the management team’s arrival in March.
He said: “I think he’s been our best defender. I think he’s been really good. I’m surprised he hadn’t played that many games in his short time at the club before we arrived.
“From what we’ve seen there have not been many better defenders we’ve come up against and I think he’s a good lad who wants to learn and wants to progress.
“For me it was a no brainer. We wanted to get him on board for next season, along with others, and hopefully we’ll look to bring in one more centre half in.
“After that we’ll have (Greg) Young, Nico and one other and then we’ll be happy to go in at the start of the season.”
Phillips tipped Degirolamo to go on and play at a higher level - hopefully with Buxton, as they target a push for promotion in 2018/19.
“I don’t know how much of a fair crack of the whip he had at the other clubs but for me how he’s not progressed and gone on to play at a higher level is astounding.
“He’s been brilliant for us the last few games. We’ve played him at right-back, in a three-man defence and in a four-man defence and he’s not shied away from anything,” he said.
Top goalscorer Liam Hardy signed a deal last week, joining Callum Chippendale, Jude Oyibo and Joe McGee in agreeing terms.
Buxton confirmed Brad Grayson was already on a deal for next year, while defender Matt Baker has been released from the club.
And Phillips has been pleased with the business they have been able to do so far.
“We’re really happy with the lads that we’ve taken on,” he said.
“We’ve offered other people in the squad deals for next year on contract or non-contract basis so we’re hoping to keep quite a few of the squad together.
“First and foremost we need to stop conceding goals. I think we had four clean sheets throughout the season last year.
“When you’ve got the top goalscorer in the league and you only keep four clean sheets you don’t have to be a genius to realise what end of the pitch you need to sort out.
“It’s been good so far. We’re still recruiting. We’re still looking at lads. We’re still speaking to lads and we hope by pre-season most of the work will be done.
“That’s the only good thing about coming in 10/11 games to go we’ve had a good look at the lads involved and know what we need to go forward and push for promotion next year.”
Buxton’s players are due to report back for pre-season on 3rd July.