CHORLEY remain determined to keep hold of star striker Darren Stephenson despite serious interest in the 23-year-old.

So far the Magpies have rejected a bid from York City for last season's top goalscorer, but it is understood several League Two clubs are keeping tabs on Stephenson.

He struck 18 times for Matt Jansen's side last season as they finished seventh in the National League North and it is believed he is now keen to be given the chance to speak to clubs in the Football League or National League as he targets a full-time move.

But Magpies chairman Ken Wright said he was keen to keep Stephenson at Victory Park, but added he wouldn't stand in the striker's way if a Football League club matched their valuation of the player.

"The biggest plus for us so far is that we've still got Darren Stephenson, despite interest from a number of clubs," he said.

"That bodes well, he was our leading scorer last year.

"He can't go anywhere unless someone comes with an offer we can't refuse. We've always said to Darren that if it's a league offer that meets our valuation we won't stand in his way, he's a good player and why nobody has taken a chance on him I don't know.

"He's got what the modern game desires, pace, power and he can score goals. Year on year he's performed for us and score goals.

"We did have an offer from York City which didn't meet our valuation, that's only league above us though, it's not Football League.

"We're not going to see him pinched by anyone."

Stephenson scored five times in the Magpies' final five games of the campaign as Chorley finished the season well, although they had given themselves too much to do to climb into the play-off places.

Focus now turns to next season, although Wright admits it could be a tougher test with the division likely to be stronger.

"We finished the season really well, our form was good at the end," he said.

"We've got to look forward to a very competitive league next season with Altrincham and Kidderminster coming down and Salford City and Darlington coming up. All of a sudden it has a northern taste to it, which it should have.

"It's going to be a competitive league and we'll have to be all about ourselves to compete in it."