PETER JACKSON has opened contract talks with two of his most influential midfield players.

The Galpharm chief is hoping to agree one-year extensions with skipper Jon Worthington and skilful Chris Brandon.

Both players still have a year to run on their current contracts, but Jackson is keen to bring them in line with other squad members tied until 2007, the latest of whom being Republic of Ireland Under 21 striker John McAliskey.

"We have had only preliminary talks, but I am keen to secure them both as parts of the squad for the next couple of years," said Jackson.

"Jon Worthington is our skipper, he has earned tremendous respect from the squad for the way he has taken on the responsibility and he is a driving force for us on the pitch.

"Talking of Chris Brandon, he is right up there among the best signings that I've made for this club.

"A lot of clubs were looking at him when he was with Chesterfield and I had to chase him for quite a while, but I'm delighted it paid off because he has proved to be a big success with our supporters.

"There are times when he loses his discipline a little, but his workrate is unbelievable, his attitude is excellent and he's one of those whole-hearted players who just wants to win.

"Chris knows he should score more goals than he does, but I know he'll be determined to put that right next season and, if talks go well, hopefully we can look forward to at least another season after that of him playing for this club."

Central midfielder Worthington made 42 starts in all competitions last season, netting three goals.

Brandon bagged six goals from his wider role in 44 starts and two substitute appearances last term.