Defender rewarded with improved and extended contract....

Lithuanian international Marius Zaliukas has agreed to extend his stay at the club by signing a new improved contract.

The central defender initially joined on a contract until the end of the season, but he has been rewarded for a string of impressive displays with a new, improved deal, extended until the end of the 2014/15 season.

United manager Brian McDermott said: "We're delighted he's signed a new contract. When he first came in he signed short-term, but he's done very well and he's fitted in great with the group. It's great news."

Managing director David Haigh said: "Marius has done terrifically well since Brian brought him to the club and we felt it important to reward him and extend his contract with us.

"As we have already shown with new contracts for Ross McCormack and Alex Mowatt, we are constantly looking to the future, and Marius has a big part to play for us in that future.

"We're delighted he has signed, and we look forward to making further signings in January"

The former Hearts skipper has made 10 appearances since joining the club in October after impressing on trial.