HEREFORD United have received a boost in their preparations for next season with the news that key defender Andy Tretton has committed himself to the club for a further year.

Tretton, who missed a large chunk of last season with a thigh injury but featured on a winning side in 19 of his 22 Conference appearances, formed a solid back three with Tony James and Tom Smith who have also signed on for next season.

Reserve goalkeeper Ben Scott has agreed an extension to his deal while indications are that striker David Brown will be signing a new contract within the next few days.

Tretton, who has picked up a one-game ban for his controversial sending-off against Aldershot Town in the play-off semi-final, was one of five current or recent United players on international duty on Tuesday night.

The centre-back lined up with Matt Baker and Steve Guinan as England suffered a surprise 3-2 defeat to the Republic of Ireland in their opening game in the Four Nations Non-League Tournament in the Scottish Highlands.

Guinan, who last week left Edgar Street to join Cheltenham Town, was named England's captain for the night and responded by scoring both goals on his international debut.

James, who has been awarded the Worcester Evening News Ray Mercer Trophy for his outstanding performances this season, and Ryan Green helped Wales to a 0-0 draw with Scotland.

Meanwhile, back at Edgar Street, there has been an excellent start to season ticket sales for next season.

"We've sold almost £20,000-worth of tickets already, including many to supporters who have not held a season ticket before," said company secretary Joan Fennessy, who confirmed that pre-season fixtures have been arranged with Bristol City on July 27 and West Bromwich Albion on August 4.

United's Youth team, which is run by the Pershore Football Academy, looks set for a change of competition next season.

The young Bulls are hopeful of joining the South West Youth Alliance, which features league clubs such as Swindon, Swansea, Oxford, Torquay, Plymouth and Bournemouth and plays on Saturday mornings.