Forest Green Rovers midfielder Carl Winchester has extended his stay at The New Lawn for another season, after triggering a clause in his contract.

The 26-year-old, who is affectionately nicknamed 'Winniesta' for his influence in the heart of the Forest Green midfield, will now be contracted with the club until the summer of 2021.

He had originally signed a two-year contract after his deal had expired at Cheltenham Town and has gone on to make 77 appearances for the club.

The Northern Irishman says he is delighted to extend his stay and says he can now concentrate on his football with the deal sorted.

“I was thinking about it the other day and I think it was 25 games that it kicked in and I was buzzing to get to 25 games this season,” he said.

“There is always that bit of worry when you are out of contract, what is going to happen? The steps the club has taken, it was brilliant for me to have that extra year with the club.

“It is going so well, we’ve got a young group of lads here doing well in the league and we’ve just got to keep that going now.”

His start against Swindon Town on Saturday was his 25th appearance this season, which triggered the clause in his contract for an additional season.

Having suffered with injuries before his arrival in Nailsworth, he says that his number of appearances already before Christmas shows that they are behind him and he feels like he is playing his best football at the moment.

“It shows the faith the manager has in me and hopefully I am repaying him with performances on the pitch,” he added.

“To get 25 games in by Christmas, it is a big achievement.

“It shows a lot for my fitness as well. Before joining here, I had some injury issues and I would go into games and feel a little niggle and I would be hoping it wouldn’t be anything too serious.

“Now, I just go into games flying, not even thinking about injuries and concentrating on the match and getting through it.”

Now Winchester is concentrating on the second half of the 2019/20 campaign and having felt the heartbreak of last season’s play-off campaign, he wants to make sure the team get the job done through the automatic places this season.

“My aim and the team’s aim is to try and get in the top three and stay there,” he explained.

“Definitely, we have played nearly every team in the league now and I don’t think we have faced anyone who I would say, ‘they were better than us’.

“In every game, we have been in it and we have had chances. Now it is time to kick on and start believing in ourselves.”