COUSINS Danny Bate and Dean Curtis are closing in on dream professional contracts with League One Swindon Town and Leyton Orient.

The defenders are two of 22 players left in Samsung’s nationwide Win A Pro Contract competition, which attracted more than 5,000 entrants.

Danny, 19, of Jubits Lane and Dean, 18, of Elephant Lane, St Helens, impressed Swindon Town and Leyton Orient scouts at their Quarter-Final trial.

Danny, who plays for AFC Liverpool in the North West Counties Football League, said: “When I found out I was through, it was an unbelievable feeling.

“I’m going to keep my match fitness up and hopefully I’ll do enough for the managers to notice me in the next trial.

“There’s nothing I want to do more than play football. I’ve wanted it for a long time and really hope I can win a contract.”

Dean, who plays for Sutton Heath FC in St Helens Division One, said: “I think I played well in the Quarter-Final trial. I put in some good tackles and communicated well with my team-mates.

“Playing at a Football League ground in front of two professional managers will be a great experience. Hopefully the occasion will make me play better.

“Winning a pro contract would mean everything to me. Doing what I love for a living really would be a dream come true.”

The cousins will now play in front of Swindon manager Paolo Di Canio and Orient boss Russell Slade at Swindon Town’s County Ground on Sunday December 16, kick-off 1pm.

The 22 players are battling it out to be among 11 players selected for the Final against a Leyton Orient XI at the Matchroom Stadium in January.

Di Canio and Slade will then invite a select group of players to train with their respective first-team squads. The managers will pick one player each and offer them a year-long professional playing contract.