JORDAN Stoddart revealed he had rejected the overtures of higher-ranked clubs to pursue promotion with hometown club Worcester City.

The 26-year-old centre-half, a commanding presence at heart of City’s backline having been lured from Cirencester Town in November, has agreed terms for next season.

Stoddart had played every match bar one League Cup tie for the Centurions at the level above and soon settled in at the Victoria Ground.

A turbulent March saw senior stars head for the exit but City’s linchpin remained and reckons a Midland Football League title tilt should be on the cards having heard manager John Snape's plans.

“I was one of a few lads that spoke to Snapper this week,” said Stoddart, who appeared 24 times for City last season, scoring one goal.

“After hearing his vision, with Mat Birley being brought in as player-coach, I felt the club was going in the right direction.

“The gaffer seems confident about keeping the players he wants. Things seemed to happen a little bit late for us last season but having pre-season here, for me personally and the team, should help us to have a good go at it this time.

“I came from a higher level to be here and that was a big decision for me to take.

“I have had one or two phone calls but gave Snapper my word I would talk to him before anyone else and I liked everything he said.

“A couple were from a higher level but none of them were appealing. I have been at that level before and nothing I heard made me feel like it would be worth leaving Worcester for.

“Snapper said I would have a few calls but I let him know that staying was the right choice for me.

“Maybe this level is not as good but why wouldn’t I want to try to win trophies for my hometown team?

“We are dead set on pushing for the league and doing well in the cups. I had the right feeling about staying to try to build on what came together towards the end of last season.

“There were ups and downs, of course, but with a few additions I believe we have more than enough to challenge. There is every reason to think we can win the league.

“I feel really excited and am looking forward to trying to build on my form from the end of last season.”

Stoddart joins Jamie Smith and Mat Birley, appointed player-coach yesterday, in agreeing terms for the new campaign.

One player who will not be back is Benji Robinson. The ex-Shawbury United striker is relocating to study at Nottingham Trent University.