Alan Knill is expecting more improvements from young duo Stephen Dawson and Michael Jones this season.

Both players have become integral members of the Shakers side in the space of just 12 months, and Knill is keen to see further developments in their respective games.

“Jonah came a long way last season — further than anyone really,” said the boss. “He was an unknown when he came from Tranmere, a bit-part player, but he ended up playing all our games and hardly missed a training session.

“He has got unbelievable ability and now he has to push on. He trains well and listens to everything so he has got the chance to succeed. He is often the last off the training ground.”

Dawson swept the board at April’s player of the season awards, and Knill is hoping for a similarly successful season from the Irish midfielder.

“We knew what Dawson was about because he had played at this level for a couple of seasons but I think his all-round game has really come on,” said Knill. “When I first saw Daws he caught the eye because of his non-stop running, but some of that was wasted.

“We sat him down and pointed out that, when you watch all the best central midfielders, they are in the middle of the park when the play breaks up. They are not running past the opposition centre-forward.

“His natural game is to work hard and he has really come on as a player.

“He tracks back, gets in tackles, breaks up play and sees danger really well.”