DENNY INGRAM is "over the moon" after being named Pickering Town's manager for next season, having guided the Pikes to Evo-Stik League east division safety.

He is also keen, however, to point out that the Pikes' work is far from over.

Ingram was approached by chairman Wayne Taylor before Monday's derby game against Tadcaster Albion, with survival already assured after Saturday's 1-1 draw at Wisbech Town.

Since his appointment in mid-February - succeeding Paul Marshall in the Mill Lane hot seat - the Pikes seem to have achieved what Taylor wanted, with a managerial shake-up bringing renewed vigour to the side and, ultimately, Step 5 football for another year at least.

Pickering are guaranteed a 16th-placed finish, with only Saturday's home game against Loughborough Dynamo remaining of the campaign.

Ingram said: "I'm over the moon. It's a fantastic achievement for the club, making sure we're safe in the Evo-Stik for another year.

"We've achieved what we set out to do, now the hard work starts for next season.

"I made it known from the off I was interested in the post full-time.

"In the short time I've been in charge, (Taylor) has seen a freshness in the team. He wasn't happy with the position Pickering were in and, in wanting to push the club forward, I think he's seen my approach and expectations of the team's performances.

"Knowing the club and what the club means to fans, I know we need to show desire and commitment in keeping successful in the league.

"He's seen the hard work me and Ryan (Blott, assistant) have put in since we took over and he's appreciated it.

"We've got to see the last game of the season out. We'll approach that like every game since we took over, hoping to finish on a positive note to carry us into pre-season.

"Me and Ryan have been drumming up a list of potential players we think will improve us and fit in with our mindset.

"The hard work starts now for pre-season to get the right mentality in the club and make sure we're not in this position again."

On Easter Monday, Pickering were mere minutes away from wrapping up a league double over Taddy, whom they beat 1-0 at the i2i Stadium on Boxing Day.

Danny Earl gave the Pikes an 84th-minute lead but Aiden Savory capitalised on some confusion between keeper Harrison Foulkes and Matty Turnbull to slot home the equaliser in the last minute of normal time to seal a 1-1 draw.

Result aside, Ingram was pleased to see a continuation of the application he has seen since taking the reins, especially at the back end of a tough six days which comprised early-morning finishes and 14-hour days.

Midfielder Archie Whitfield came in for particular praise, with the 17-year-old being handed his full debut.

"You'd think he had already played a handful of games, not making his first start," Ingram said. "He was absolutely fantastic.

"I was disappointed to concede in the last minute from a mix-up between the goalkeeper and centre-half. But overall, a point was probably fair.

"Our commitment and work rate was fantastic.

"All the boys put in a right shift after a long week, and there were no complaints from any of them.

"Non-League football is hard at the best of times, but going from playing Morpeth to Wisbech then to Tadcaster desperate for points to keep their promotion push on course - credit to the boys.

"They'll have a rest this week then hopefully finish the season on a high.

"I'm confident no matter who we play - Morpeth apart.

"If we turn up and do what we're good at, play with a high intensity, work rate and quality in possession, we're a match for anyone.

"But you've got to match the other teams in this league for work rate, and I think that was a bit of an eye-opener, coming up from the Northern Counties East League.

"We came in a little bit under-prepared, but since I took over, the players have stood up to the expectations put on them.

"Other than 45 minutes against Brighouse, they've done exactly what's been asked of them, and there's no reason why this group of players can't compete at this level next year, with the addition of a few new faces.

"Players come and go - that's football. You're always looking to improve the team, whether that be through players or tactics.

"We know we were a little bit short this year, either through preparation, quality or application at times.

"One thing's for sure - things will change next year. Standards have been set and one thing that won't be accepted is coming in not ready to hit the ground running."