Grimsby Town: Frankie Artus hoping Liam Hearn stays with Mariners
MIDFIELDER Frankie Artus is staying at Grimsby Town next season – and is praying star striker Liam Hearn does the same.
As reported on thisisgrimsby.co.uk yesterday, the Bristolian has now agreed and signed a new one-year contract at Blundell Park, joining James McKeown, Andi Thanoj and Dayle Southwell in committing to the Mariners.
Hearn is already contracted until 2014, but his 29-goal return is sure to attract suitors, like it did in the January window.
But Artus says it's important he also stays put if Town are to challenge for promotion next season, particularly with several departing like winger Michael Coulson – today linked with interest from Scunthorpe along with former Mariner Joe Widdowson.
Artus said: "Liam is a major player for us.
"Without his goals this season who knows where we would have finished.
"Hopefully he is here next season, because it's a lot of goals to make up in a team if not.
"We have already lost some good players like Coulo (Michael Coulson), but it's a chance for others to step up or new faces to come in and take us on to the next level.
"What we do need to do is get more goals from midfield, and that is a big aim for me next season now my future is sorted.
"I only got one this campaign and know I can get more.
"It took a while for me to adapt to the style of play this season but when I did, I felt comfortable in the team.
"Next season I want to have a major effect and help the likes of Liam take us forward."
Artus mulled over his offer at the end of the campaign but had always stated a desire to stay from the final whistle against Southport in the last game.
And he is happy to have it signed early in order to enjoy the summer and then get ready to hit the ground running next year.
The 23-year-old, who made 34 appearances following his switch from Cheltenham, went on: "I am really pleased to sign again.
"I started slowly last season but got better as it went on and enjoyed my football a lot more in the second half of the season.
"I was involved in games more. The 4-3-3 formation at the end gave me more influence on the game.
"I thought I did well but you still never know if you have done enough to earn a new contract.
"The fact I did and a deal was there made me feel wanted.
"I am happy to stay; I am settled off the pitch as well and the way the managers are looking to play next season suits my game.
"Hopefully, I can get more assists again and weigh in with a few more goals.
"I think there is the basis of a good squad there and it will be improved this summer.
"We ended the season disappointingly after our good unbeaten run but there is plenty to build on."