A PAIR of footballers who grew up playing against each other on the school fields of Warrington have both taken one step closer to winning a professional football contract with League One sides Swindon Town or Leyton Orient.

Centre-back Mike Jukes, aged 20, of Great Sankey, and central midfielder Jonni Dawson, of Callands, are two of 88 players remaining from an initial group of 5,000 in Samsung’s Win A Pro Contract competition, having impressed scouts at regional trials.

The competition is the latest chapter in a story of friendship that has been growing since the pair first played against each other at school.

Dawson, who missed a chance to sign a professional contract at Burnley due to an injury in his youth, said: “We knew each other as we played against each other for our secondary schools.

“We’ve been best friends for the last 10 years, as we found out that we only lived five minutes away from each other.

“Last season we played together for Billinge FC, winning three trophies, including the North West Liverpool Cup.”

But their friendship will now be tested to the limit as they both look to impress individually in an 11-a-side match at Hyde FC on Sunday, November 11, pulling out all of the stops to ensure they will both be a part of the 11-man side selected to take part in the final in December.