Ilmari Niskanen signs new Exeter City contract

Ilmari Niskanen believes he will only get better after extending his contract at Exeter City by another year. The hugely likeable and popular 26-year-old joined from Scottish outfit Dundee United on a two-year deal last summer, but has enjoyed his time in Devon so much that he was more than happy to commit to a new deal with the club.

“I’m extremely happy to be a Grecian for an extended period of time and I have loved my time in Exeter so far,” he said. “I know there’s still a lot more to come, both personally and as a team.

“I strongly believe that the next seasons can be very successful for this football club, that was one of the main reasons for committing at least a year longer as I really want to help the team to achieve great things. I can’t wait to be back for pre-season and start the hard work again with fantastic team-mates and coaching staff.”

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Niskanen made three appearances before he was injured while on international duty with Finland in a European Championship qualifier against Denmark. A dislocated shoulder kept him sidelined for two months, but when he returned to action, he was a virtual ever-present for Gary Caldwell’s side, making 35 appearances in all competitions.

Speaking on his decision to extend Niskanen’s stay, Caldwell said: “We are so happy that Ilmari has extended his contract with us. He has been excellent since he came to the club, as a person and a player.

“His character and work ethic are incredible and we want to build the team around people like Ilmari. His season was disrupted by his shoulder injury but that didn’t stop him contributing lots on the pitch.

“He knows he has more to give and is working closely with Kevin Nicholson in developing his game and this showed with his assists towards the end of the season. Next season I have no doubt this will only improve because of Imi’s work ethic and determination to be the best player he can be.”

Meanwhile Ollie Watkins was named Supporters; Player of the Season and Players’ Player of the Season at Aston Villa’s end of season awards dinner on Tuesday.

The former Grecians Academy graduate has scored 27 goals in 52 appearances this season and his awards follow Jay Stansfield winning all five player of the year awards on offer at Birmingham City’s awards dinner last week.

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