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It will be very hard to stop match-winner Conn-Clarke leaving this summer, admits Robins boss

The club are bracing themselves for a transfer scramble this summer.

Altrincham are bracing themselves for a summer transfer scramble to give free-scoring Chris Conn-Clarke's matchwinning flair a Football League platform for next season.

The Robins are aware of growing interest from a host of clubs, some as highly placed as the EFL Championship, in their multi-talented attacking midfielder, whose stats for goals and assists over the past season are unrivalled in the Vanarama National League.

In an exceptional campaign for the entire team, Conn-Clarke has consistently stood out with a number of dazzling displays and a combined tally of goals (23) and assists (12) that is the best in the league.

It's been one of the most remarkable examples of individual attacking potency the National League has seen for many a year, made all the more noteworthy by the 22-year old not even operating as an out-and-out striker.

Confirming that every effort will be made to keep him at The J.Davidson Stadium but it could prove a losing battle, manager Phil Parkinson said: "I would love to reassure everyone that Chris will still be with us next season, but in all honesty I can't.

"When a player does what he has done, in terms of goals and assists, the bigger clubs are going to come calling.

"We would love him to stay, and all of us will do everything in our power to make it happen, but after the season he has had, it's very difficult to stop that natural next step taking place.

"Chris came to us not just to play for Altrincham but to progress his career and better himself, if possible. I know that's going to be hard for Alty fans to hear - it's hard for me to say.

"Believe me, if he is still with us at the start of next season, I will have the biggest smile on my face you have ever seen.

"If not, I won't be amazed, and I certainly won't be disappointed with anyone, either, because one of our biggest selling points with players is telling them we can develop you and put you on the map, and, as a club, we get our rewards for that."

Conn-Clarke's goals and assists are unrivalled in the Vanarama National League this season

The starting gun for league clubs to step up their interest in the Northern Ireland under-21 international, who has flourished under Parkinson's tutelage and willingness to allow him a free rein in the number 10 role, sounded when Alty's season ended in defeat in last Sunday's play-off semi-final at Bromley.

"The first half went exactly how we wanted it to, with us looking strong and comfortable," said the Alty boss, whose side led at half-time before slipping to a 3-1 defeat. "Disappointing and frustrating though the second half was, what pleased me most was seeing that, for 45 minutes at least, the lads showed they could play their way and control a big game in front of a big crowd.

"It proved a bridge too far in the end, but the fact remains it has been a fantastic season for us and I am so proud of how far we have come."