ANDY Preece has signed a new deal to stay as Worcester City manager until the end of the 2006/07 season.

The popular 38-year-old player-boss agreed a year's extension at St George's Lane while Andy Morrison remains as assistant manager.

Contract talks between Preece and chairman Dave Boddy began this summer, but negotiations were put on the back-burner during City's phenomenal FA Cup run.

The deal will come as a relief to Worcester supporters, who have seen Preece's reputation soar as a result of the club's cup success.

It was speculated that Preece could be on the shortlist for managerial roles at Kidderminster and Blackpool, where he starred for three seasons and still lives.

But the Evesham-born striker, brought up in Upton Snodsbury, is content at his home-town club after 10 months in charge.

He intends to complete his five-year plan for City, which includes fighting for promotion to the Football League.

"I'm glad the contract is sorted," said Preece. "It's something that we've been talking about since the summer, then into September. With the FA Cup run, it took a while to get sorted.

"The club have always shown faith in their managers down the years and there was never a worry for me.

"There is a five-year plan in place and, down the line, we want to be competing in the Conference and pushing hard for us to be in the Football League. I want to be here to implement that plan.

"As long as I'm at the club, Andy Morrison will be here too. Jock and I are very much a team. At the end of the day, we work together and our relationship is really good. I know what Jock wants and he knows what I want. It's an important relationship and we work well as a pair.

"We feel as though we are taking the club in the right direction. I would like to think supporters want me to stay in charge.

"One or two people have asked me whether I'm coming or going. I'm just glad it's sorted because it's important for club stability."

Boddy was delighted to extend Preece's contract and believes the former Bury manager is capable of bringing more good times back to City.

He said: "We gave Andy an 18-month contract from the outset. It probably should have been a two-and-a-half-year deal, but because of the club's precarious financial situation, we could not make that commitment to anybody.

"These things take time and while the FA Cup run gathered it's momentum, all our focus was on staging the big FA Cup games with Chippenham and Huddersfield.

"Talks started in August and we knew that it was what we wanted to do.

"Andy has done a splendid job, something we knew he had the capability of doing. Last season, he stabilised us when we were almost dragged into a relegation battle and we finished with a great run.

"He's a bright, enthusiastic, intelligent leader and his managerial partnership with Jock is very important. Together, I'm convinced they will continue to take us forward."