Lewes have declared they will not stand in the way of Ollie Tanner if he gets a chance to move into the EFL.

But boss Tony Russell reckons it is a great sign the club have secured him on a new contract.

The 19-year-old scored again on Saturday as Rooks beat Folkestone 3-0 on an emotional afternoon.

They return to action at the Dripping Pan tonight as Corinthian-Casuals visit.

Saturday’s win was dedicated to fan Dave McKay, know as Cynical Dave, who died recently.

Goal celebrations included holding a T-shirt aloft bearing Dave’s nickname.

Tanner set the ball rolling when his right-foot drive was too hot for the keeper to keep out.

He has been producing some great entertainment this term and Lewes were delighted to cement his and their own position by agreeing a deal which runs until the end of next season.

Russell said: “I sat down with the club and said he is probably the best young player I have ever worked with.

“And I have worked with some good ones.

“Mo Eisa, who is at MK Dons now, and Alfie May (Cheltenham) and people like hat.

“But he is as good as I have seen “He is still a bit raw in certain areas but he is a good lad and he wants to learn.

“As a coach, that always gives you a chance.

“He loves the club as well, the club love him and it was a no-brainer really.

“I’m glad the club agreed with me unanimously.

“We went to the board and I know they have been reluctant to give long-term contracts out because of something that happened about ten years ago.

“But they recognised straight away what I was trying to say.

“It’s a brilliant signing.

“There are not too many better than him at our level.”

Tanner has scored ten goals in 15 games this season and has been involved in others as he plays on the left of a front three.

He was with Arsenal as a boy and later progressed through the under-23s at Bromley.

Russell says his goal has to be a place in the EFL but Lewes is a great home for him in the meantime.

He added: “What this does for us is, if he leaves, it will only be to a pro club.

“What it stops is we get to the end of the season and clubs offer him £50 more and his head is turned.

“It just secures things for us and we have explained that to him.

“At the same time, we are not in the business of holding anyone back.

“We had a conversation and he has come on so much since the start of pre-season.

“I think he needs to have at least one season with us.

“Then I think, if there are pro clubs interested in him, they can talk to us and we can have those conversations. I am certainly not in the business of trying to hold Ollie Tanner back.

“This is so he can settle down and concentrate on his football.

“If he keeps on putting in the performances, people must start coming in for him.

“That must be his ambition – to play in the Football League.

“I want that for him as well.

“But, if it doesn’t happen, he will play for us.

“I get on very well with him.

“He has taken to my coaching and it has made him a better player, in his own words.

“If you are his age and you are doing what he is doing at this level, there is going to be interest.”

TONIGHT (7.45pm unless stated) Pitching In Isthmian League, premier: Lewes v Corinthian-Casuals.

Isthmian south east: Hastings United v Sittingbourne.

Velocity Trophy 1st rd: Burgess Hill v Uxbridge (7.30pm), Chichester v Hanwell, Herne Bay v East Grinstead.

Sussex Senior Cup 2nd rd: Worthing v Seaford.

Sussex RUR Cup: AFC Uckfield Town v Roffey (7.30pm), Little Common v Newhaven, Loxwood v Littlehampton Town, Peacehaven v Oakwood, Saltdean v Horsham YMCA, Shoreham v Pagham.