CHORLEY boss Matt Jansen is hoping to tie top scorer Darren Stephenson to a new contract, but said he would not stand in his way if the striker wanted to join a bigger club.

The 23-year-old has 13 goals in the National League North this season and scored the second equaliser in the Magpies 2-2 draw with Lancaster City in the Lancashire Challenge Trophy final on Monday night, before slotting away a penalty in the shootout as Chorley claimed victory.

The Jamaica-born frontman, who started his career at Bradford City, was the subject of late interest from League Two Hartlepool in the closing hours of the January transfer window.

Jansen spoke to Stephenson about that move but his striker decided it wasn't the right time to go, and the Magpies chief is now hoping to tie him down to a contract at Victory Park for next season.

"He's been outstanding for me this season and I'm looking to secure his name on a piece of paper top have him for next season," Jansen said after Stephenson had come off the bench to change the game at the Macron Stadium on Monday.

"We're in negotiations at the moment, there's a few clubs sniffing and I wouldn't stand in his way if he needs to progress but I'd like to keep him if we can."

Chorley's shootout victory over the Dolly Blues saw them lift the Lancashire Challenge Trophy for a record 17th time.

The Magpies have also won five of their last eight league games to close the gap on the play-off places to just six points.

And although Jansen thinks a late charge into the top five is unlikely, he knows claiming another piece of silverware could act as a catalyst in the closing weeks of the season.

"It can, but it's a long shot," he said. "There's a few teams who are better placed but the way we've been playing gives us confidence. We've got players to come back in.

"Never say never in football, but we'll take each game as it comes and if it gets closer maybe we'll then start thinking we have got a chance, but for now we'll focus on Saturday and try and get another three points."

Chorley host Curzon Ashton in the league tomorrow.

In the North West Counties Premier Division title challengers Colne host 1874 Northwich, Barnoldswick Town are away at Abbey Hey, AFC Darwen are home to Winsford United, Nelson travel to AFC Liverpool and Padiham are away at Bootle.

In the First Division Bacup Borough are at home to St Helens Town.