Barrow AFC have continued to keep the spine of their team together for next season after club captain Josh Granite signed a new one-year deal with the club.

Granite’s new contract includes the option of an extra year beyond the 2019-20 season and he follows goalkeeper Joel Dixon, fellow defender Sam Hird and wide man Josh Kay in securing his future with the Bluebirds.

The 27-year-old arrived at Holker Street last summer from Ashton United, who he captained to promotion to National League North last season.

It has been a slightly stop-start campaign for Granite, who has recently come back from an ankle injury that kept him out for almost three months and was troubled by a toe problem in the autumn.

Manager Ian Evatt was delighted another key member of his squad has agreed to stay on, saying: “Josh has signed, so that’s good news.

“He’s been in and out with injuries this season – I think he needs a clear run of things and hopefully he can have that next season, but it’s great that the core of the group is going to be staying.

“There’s a few more that we need to get sorted and get done yet, but I’m obviously pleased that we’re managing to keep the ones that we want to keep.”

Granite has worked his way up non-League football since signing for Mossley from Stockport Sports in 2014 and made enough of an impression there to persuade Trafford to bring him in the following summer.

Following two years there, he moved to Ashton, which is where he displayed the sort of leadership qualities that earned him the captain’s armband with the Bluebirds.

He’s developed his game since arriving – he’s admitted he was more of a no-nonsense defender when he joined – becoming more comfortable in possession, while still remaining solid, as the season has progressed.

Evatt said: “He’s a leader and sometimes we’ve lacked leaders – we’re primarily a young group and you need leadership.

“I think it’s a skill that’s going out of the game, to be honest. These young players nowadays don’t use their voice like they should.

“Any type of communication on the football pitch is important, not only for yourself, as it helps you to keep concentrating, but it also allows you to give the right information to your teammates as well.

“I think that’s a skill that’s going out the game, so we preach to our young players that they need to able to communicate for those reasons I’ve just said.

“Josh is a very good communicator and he helps the team function with that communication.”